News / Utah / 

Shocking motive revealed in the murder of deacon

Shocking motive revealed in the murder of deacon



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Sandra Yi ReportingThere's a stunning development in the case of a Roman Catholic deacon who was shot to death while driving home in September 2005.

Prosecutors say it was a murder-for-hire. They say Aniceto Armendariz was shot in a revenge killing that ended up being a case of mistaken identity.

Shocking motive revealed in the murder of deacon

Armendariz was shot to death while driving home with his wife on Highway 40. A father and son have been charged with the crime. They were paid to kill the victim by someone in jail at the time who thought Armendariz sold him out to police.

Prosecutors say the victim was not a confidential informant. "It's a terrible, ironic tragedy that someone would kill someone just on the mere suspicion that they

Shocking motive revealed in the murder of deacon

had provided some information," said Wasatch County Attorney Thomas Low.

Alma Armendariz, the deacon's wife, wasn't surprised to hear the motive. She said, "I didn't think they had a problem with my husband because my husband didn't have problems with anyone here."

Shocking motive revealed in the murder of deacon

Antonio Pelaez-Vasquez was sentenced to five years to life in prison. Before he was sentenced this morning, Alma Armendariz read a letter to him about how his actions have hurt her family.

Last month, Antonio's son, Cunny Pelaez, who authorities believe fired the gun, was sentenced to six years to life.

Shocking motive revealed in the murder of deacon

"They don't really have feelings. I don't think they do, because if they killed him they don't have any," said Armendariz.

She says she and her four kids feel safer now because the men are going to prison. However, she knows there's another possible suspect out there. Attorney Low said, "This case isn't closed. It's still being investigated. We feel we know who is out there, and we're going to try and get them."

Prosecutors declined to say who that third suspect is.

SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast