SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A man has been sentenced to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison on Tuesday, Nov. 22, after being convicted of killing a realtor from Sandy in 2019.
Manuel Velasquez, 35, pleaded guilty to a reduced second-degree charge of manslaughter last September. He shot and killed David Stokoe when he tried to evict him and another woman.
The judge recommended that the board of pardons give him all 15 years. The board has yet to make a decision on that yet.
Valesquez was initially charged with five other felonies, but they have all been dismissed.
Jessica Louise Miller, the woman who was with Velasquez, was charged with first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree discharge of a firearm, second-degree obstruction of justice, second-degree identity fraud, third-degree forgery, and third-degree abuse or desecration of a dead body.
She pleaded not guilty to the first four charges in November 2020. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 28.
David Stokoe was fatally shot on Jan. 17, 2019, over a rent dispute.
He visited an apartment unit he rented to Velasquez and Miller near 878 Princeton Avenue. The landlord reportedly had the intention to evict the tenants because they were having issues with paying their rent on time.
Valesquez allegedly engaged in a physical fight with Stokoe after he “kicked in” the door and threw some of their belongings down the stairs. The probable cause document stated that Stokoe had Valesquez in a choke hold, and he feared he was going to pass out. Valesquez then pulled out a gun from his fanny pack and shot Stokoe four times.
Valesquez and Miller enlisted the help of a third individual, Diana Hernandez, to clean up the scene and hide the body.
Diana Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree obstruction of justice in July 2019 and was sentenced to one year in jail without credit for time served.