FARMINGTON — The case against an Ogden resident charged with killing a Layton man during a 2018 robbery will go forward, a Davis County judge ruled Wednesday in Farmington.
Angel Christopher Abreu, 23, was one of three people charged in connection with the death of 26-year-old Anthony Child after a botched home invasion in the early morning hours of Sept. 27, 2018. The other two charged are 26-year-old Kevin Content and 17-year-old Ogden resident Brandon Hinojosa.
Abreu is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated kidnapping — all first-degree felonies — and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
The case was the focus of a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, as the case’s lead investigator, Layton Police Detective Mike Damico, was the lone witness to take the stand, and he spelled out the evidence at play in the case.
Damico said that dispatchers in Layton were notified by police in Preston, Idaho that a man, Child, had died in a hospital after he was shot multiple times. Two people had driven Child to the Idaho hospital at Child’s request, and they told local police that Child was shot in Layton. According to Damico, one of the two who drove Child to Idaho told police that Child said he would “rather die than go back to prison.”
A report from the Franklin County Idaho Coroner’s Office indicated that Child bled out from the gunshot wounds, and cause of death listed was exsanguination.
Police then went to a trailer where Child was living and found multiple bullet holes in the home, as well as a mushroom grow operation and over 50 gallons of marijuana. Damico testified that police found evidence of the home being cleaned after the shooting, including blood smears and a cleaned area where Child was likely laying on the floor before being taken to the hospital.
Charging documents filed last October claimed that 13 shots were fired in the home and two struck Child. Police also found blood stains that were cleaned up with hydrogen peroxide in an attempt to destroy potential evidence.
Citing phone and text messaging records, Damico alleged that Abreu and Content had been planning the home invasion for weeks before the attack, presumably because Content owed an $8,000 drug debt. Though Content was staying at the trailer home with several other people at the time, police believe the robbery was an inside job and planned by Content.
During the investigation, police learned that a neighbor next door had a security camera outside that captured the moments leading up to the shooting. The video, played in open court, depicted who is believed to be Abreu and Hinojosa outside the trailer holding guns and talking. Later, men believed to be Abreu and Content are seen talking outside before the two go back into the trailer.
Shortly after, Content can be seen running from the trailer, followed moments later by Abreu and Hinojosa, according to Damico.
Inside the trailer, Damico said that Hinojosa was in the process of binding a man inside with duct tape and moments later was shot in the leg. Abreu, who was also inside, allegedly told police that he heard the gunshot and began shooting in the direction he thought the shots came from. He allegedly fired multiple times in the direction of Child, who was hit twice. At the time, Hinojosa reportedly had a handgun and Abreu had a rifle, Damico said.
The detective went on to say that he was unsure if Child had shot at Hinojosa, and instead he thought that Hinojosa had accidentally shot himself in the leg, though there was little evidence to support this possibility.
After the botched robbery, Abreu and Hinojosa drove to Abreu’s home in Ogden. Damico said that a neighbor of Abreu was told to come over to the apartment. In a signed statement, the neighbor said that he saw a bloody towel and a blood stain on a couch inside Abreu’s apartment. Abreu told the neighbor that he shot the man who shot his friend, Damico said.
A day after the shooting, police began searching for Abreu and circulated his photo on social media. Abreu then contacted police and set up a meeting between him and police at the Ogden office of his attorney at the time, Roy Cole.
The interview, which lasted four hours, was recorded by police, and roughly an hour of the interview was played in court Wednesday. At first, Abreu told police he had been to the “hippy trailer” a few times before, but stopped hanging out with Content and others after he decided to get off drugs.
At one point, the officers call out Abreu and say that they know he’s lying because they have Content’s phone records, which allegedly showed the two communicating consistently before the home invasion. After a pause in the recording so Abreu can talk to his attorney, he begins to change the story. Abreu told police that Content had set up the robbery to repay a drug debt.
After speaking to Abreu and Hinojosa, police found a bag containing evidence from the robbery: a handgun, masks and a map of the home made by Content. The bag was found in a bush just off 24th Street in Ogden. Police later found the rifle at a Murray home where a family member of Abreu lived.
Judge David Connors took a brief respite from the courtroom to make his decision, but ultimately decided to bind over all of Abreu’s four charges, moving the case forward.
Abreu’s next court hearing will be for an arraignment, where he will likely enter pleas to the charges levied against him. The hearing is scheduled to take place Nov. 12 in Farmington’s 2nd District Court.
Hinojosa pleaded not guilty to all charges, including murder, in April. Content did the same during a September hearing.
Content and Abreu are being held without bail at the Weber County Jail. Hinojosa, who is still a juvenile, was last known to being held at the Millcreek Youth Facility in Ogden.