OGDEN — The case of an Ogden teen found guilty of stabbing a man to death is on hold for the time being.
In what was scheduled to be a sentencing hearing Wednesday, the court agreed to delay the hearing for Xavier Soto, 19, until arguments are heard on a motion filed Tuesday by Soto’s attorney, Randall Richards.
Richards filed a motion to arrest judgment, which, if granted, would result in the removal of a jury’s decision in December to convict Soto of murder, a first-degree felony.
Soto was also allowed to plead no contest to one count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony. A “no contest” plea is similar to that of a guilty plea. However, the individual charged does not have to admit fault.
Soto walked into the Weber County Sheriff’s Office and turned himself in on Feb. 13, 2019.
His arrest came days after police named him as a suspect in the stabbing death of 28-year-old DJ Parkinson, who was found lying in a patch of grass in the 2200 block of Monroe Boulevard around 9:50 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2019. A search warrant unsealed in November indicated the official cause of Parkinson’s death, as medical examiners found that a laceration to the man’s left ventricle killed him.
In the motion filed Tuesday, Richards argued there was insufficient evidence to find Soto guilty of murder and there were inconsistencies during witness testimony.
He argued that there were a number of differences in testimony between what witnesses said just after the stabbing and what they said during trial. He also wrote that the evidence suggested the killer stabbed Parkinson with his right hand, but Soto is left-handed. Richards added that a witness changed her story several times when talking with officers.
In the second point of argument, Richards said Soto’s constitutional rights were violated during jury selection, when no members of the Latino community were selected for the jury.
He wrote that the “removal of the only individual of the defendant’s race constitutes an impermissible violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights and an acquittal should be granted based upon that violation.”
During the brief hearing Wednesday, prosecutors told the court they wanted time to respond to the motion and provide counter arguments.
Judge Joseph Bean agreed to push off the sentencing until a later date. Richards said that if the court were to strike down the motion, he and Soto would be prepared for the sentencing on the same day.
Soto’s next court date is set to take place on March 4 for arguments and, if the motion is dismissed, sentencing. As of Wednesday, Soto was being held at the Weber County Jail without bail.