Men Accused of Killing Elberta Dairy Worker Plead Innocent

Men Accused of Killing Elberta Dairy Worker Plead Innocent

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Two men accused in the Sept. 16 slaying of a 39-year-old Elberta dairy worker have pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Sergio Ramos-Trujillo, 27, of Elberta is charged with homicide, obstruction of justice, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

Agustin Cruz-Silva, also known as Mario Padilla-Rodriguez, 44, of Springville is charged with manslaughter, obstruction of justice and unlawful possession of a handgun by a restricted person.

Prosecutors allege Ramos-Trujillo shot fellow dairy employee Jorge Corona three times in the neck at the men's housing complex in Elberta after a road rage incident the previous day.

Prosecutors contend Cruz-Silva loaned Ramos-Trujillo the gun used in the killing.

Fourth District Judge Lynn W. Davis set jury trial for the men for Feb. 13.

Paige Benjamin, attorney for Cruz-Silva, said Wednesday he will ask suppression of some evidence, including disputed police translations of what Ramos-Trujillo said to Cruz-Silva the night before Corona's death.

Cruz-Silva's attorney also plans to file a motion to dismiss the prosecution's charge of second-degree felony manslaughter against his client.

"I think the state really went overboard with that charge," he said.

Richard Gale, attorney for Ramos-Trujillo, also is opposing introduction of evidence, including his client's past medical history or prior misdeeds.

Gale said he had an investigator searching for more information to support the defense's belief that Ramos-Trujillo was trying to defend himself.

Witnesses testified at the preliminary hearing that the shooting took place after Corona had tried to pass Ramos-Trujillo in his vehicle on the highway and Ramos-Trujillo had sped up to prevent his passing.

They said a verbal and then physical altercation ensued between the two employees of the Brigham Creek Dairy Farm.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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