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Charges filed in 1994 murder case

Posted - Jun. 11, 2010 at 7:57 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Prosecutors have filed charges in a murder case that's been cold for nearly 16 years.

Investigators say Jose Levya-Padilla shot and killed Richard Leetham in August 1994 and dumped his body in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Leetham left his home in West Jordan to type a report at Salt Lake Community College but was never seen again. His body was found more than a month later. He had died of a gunshot wound.

Leetham's truck and $700 in it were missing. The vehicle turned up in Tijuana, Mexico, three months later. Witnesses told police that Levya-Padilla brought the truck to Mexico and left it with his family.

He allegedly admitted he had the missing money but told investigators he got the money and truck from someone else.

Prosecutors originally working on the case believed there wasn't enough information to charge Levya-Padilla. The Unified Police Department reopened the case in 2008, interviewed witnesses again and found additional information.

Levya-Padilla now faces murder and aggravated robbery charges. He is currently serving time at a federal prison in another state for aggravated re-entry.

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