The Justice Files: Murder for hire killers won’t divulge source

Justice Files
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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Like father, like son.

Cunny Pelaez will not cooperate in naming the person who hired him to help kill a catholic deacon in 2005.

Last fall, his father, Antonio Pelaez-Vasquez, also refused to offer information when he appeared before a hearing officer with the Utah Parole Board.

In 2005, father and son stopped the vehicle driven by Aniceto Armendariz and shot through the window killing Armendariz.

His wife was in the passenger seat but was not injured.

Armendariz was a catholic deacon at a parish in Heber City and also served as a social worker for immigrants in the area.

The father and son were arrested and convicted and sent to prison for the murder.

In 2007, the former Wasatch County attorney offered a motive for the killing.

“There are certain people that didn’t want Mr. Armendariz continue cooperating the way he was,” said Tom Low, who is now a district court judge.

Low said there was no evidence that Armendariz was offering information to local law enforcement.

Last fall, the father, Pelaez Vasquez, appeared before a hearing officer with the Utah Board of Pardons for possible release from prison.

Armendariz’ son was also present during the virtual hearing.

Out of concern for his safety, his name was not disclosed.

“As of today, I still don’t fully understand or know the motive for the murder,” said the son. “I was only 17-years old and I do not know if my father did something to these gentlemen personally.”

But Pelaez-Vasquez refused to disclose who ordered the killing.

Tuesday, his son, Cunny Pelaez, appeared before the parole board and was asked the very same question.

“I have a bad memory you know,” said Pelaez. “Whatever you say, whatever you say that, that’s what it is.”

It was also learned that the father was the triggerman and the son was the driver. But in the eyes of the law, both are equally guilty of murdering Armendariz.

Often times, those charged with such crimes offer remorse or apologize to the victims and their families. Pelaez did neither.

“I have nothing to say,” he told the hearing officer. “I have to say something to them? For what?”

Those answers may have sealed Cunny Pelaez fate with the board of pardons, which is reviewing his case for parole.

Meanwhile, his father took the secret to the grave. According to prison officials, he died in January.

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