LOGAN — A judge has refused to allow a Logan man, charged with shooting and killing his co-worker in August, to be released from jail on bail. Lorenzo Tena-Vasquez was ordered to remain incarcerated while the criminal case against him moves forward.
Tena-Vasquez appeared in 1st District Court Wednesday afternoon for a bail hearing. He was previously charged with one count of murder and seven counts of felony discharge of a firearm, all first-degree felonies.
According to Cache County Sheriff’s deputies, Tena-Vasquez allegedly shot and killed Arellano Nieto Yovani, a 29-year-old man, at a home construction site in Millville. He later surrendered to law enforcement, allegedly still with blood on his clothing and admitting he had shot the man. A gun was later located inside his truck.
Tena-Vasquez reportedly told deputies that he and Yovani had been in a confrontation earlier that morning in which the victim had threatened him. He said that after the fight he left the job site and went back to his home.
Deputies interviewed an individual who witnessed the shooting. The man described how Tena-Vasquez had entered the basement room and walked up behind the victim, who was seated and using his phone. The suspect then shot Yovani, while he was screaming “no.”
Tena-Vasquez claimed he was fearful and angry about having been threatened. He took a handgun and returned to the construction site, finding Yovani in a basement room and shooting him six-seven times.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray asked the court to keep Tena-Vasquez in jail due to the serious nature of the charges and the threat he posed to the community. He also explained how the defendant had family in Mexico and might flee the country if released.
Defense attorney Bryan Sidwell said Tena-Vasquez had lived in Cache Valley since 1978 and has had no other criminal history. He continued to argue that his client was acting in self defense against Yovani, who he claimed had ties to organized crime.
Sidwell said, “Tena-Vasquez wants his day in court. This was a one-time event that doesn’t make him a public safety risk.”
Judge Brian Cannell said he realized that just because Tena-Vasquez is charged with murder, it didn’t mean he was guilty. He refused to allow bail though, based on the severity of the allegations.
Sidwell requested a preliminary hearing, where it will be determined whether or not prosecutors have sufficient evidence to bind Tena-Vasquez over for trial. The half-day hearing was scheduled for Oct. 28.
Family members of Yovani were in the courtroom, seated behind prosecutors. They were all wearing matching shirts, asking for justice in the victim’s murder. On the other side, Tena-Vasquez’s family sat watching the proceedings. They waved to the suspect as deputies led him out of the courtroom.
Tena-Vasquez didn’t speak during the 30 minute hearing. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.