SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) Paul Angelo Valencia was not happy to see ABC 4’s Randall Carlisle at the Matheson Courthouse Thursday.
“I would like you to leave me alone,” said Valencia after he made his first court appearance on felony ID theft charges.
More than 2 years ago ABC4 broke the story of a Salt Lake woman named Tarah who’s life was a literal hell after someone stole important documents from her mailbox.
That someone used the information to try to open 33 different accounts under her name. The suspect even filed a change of address form at the post office to have her mail sent to a new address.
Tarah spent several hundred hours tracking down who did it and all the damning evidence pointed to Valencia. She turned over everything to Salt Lake Police and heard nothing for 2 years. When ABC4 revived the story, police admitted that they dropped the ball.
Tenacious Tarah took her evidence to Salt Lake County district Attorney Sim Gill and he recently filed charges.
She was in court Thursday as Valencia was arraigned. The judge appointed a public defender and Valencia will be back in court December 11th.
As he left the courtroom Carlisle asked him about the charges. Valencia’s friends tried to block the camera as the suspect kept saying “no comment.”
Then finally he turned around and said, “you guys have misrepresented me. These charges haven’t been proven. It’s unfair to me because I haven’t been convicted of anything yet..”
Carlisle told him that he’s repeatedly offered Valencia the opportunity to explain his side of the story, but Valencia responded “I understand that, but it is an open case. I have not retained counsel yet. Once I do I’ll be more than happy to share some information. Until then I would like you to leave me alone.”
He did walk up to Tarah, the alleged victim, and introduce himself. He told her “I want you to know I’m on parole now. I’m doing well. I have a family, a job. I want to get this past me.”
Tarah was more than gracious telling him “let’s do the things that are right here and let’s get justice and put this behind us and move on.”
She later told ABC4 that she was disappointed he showed no remorse adding “I hope throughout the course of what sounds like will probably be a trial, that I am able to share with him the pain that he’s caused and the damage that he’s done.”
The two actually shook hands and Carlisle asked Tarah why she did that. “Because he is a human and I am above being petty and rude to him. I don’t need to lower myself to the level of not treating him like a fellow human.”
Valencia is already out on parole after serving time in prison on similar charges. If he’s convicted he will almost certainly be sent back behind bars. How long will be up to the judge and the parole board.