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Utah Supreme court upholds life sentence of man charged in 2007 shooting

By Emiley Morgan | Posted - May 4th, 2013 @ 8:57am

SALT LAKE CITY — The conviction and sentence of a man ordered to spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole was upheld by the state's high court Friday.

Miguel Mateos-Martinez, 25, challenged both his conviction and sentence stemming from the 2007 shooting death of Glendale salon owner Faviola Hernandez, 24.

According to the ruling, written by Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham, the man argued that the trial court's denial of a motion to amend his charge from aggravated murder to murder, the aggravated murder statute itself and statements made by the victim's family at sentencing all were violations of his constitutional rights.

But Durham, backed by the four other justices, affirmed Mateos-Martinez's conviction and sentence, finding that allowing testimony by a victim's family at sentencing in non-capital cases is not a violation of rights and that Mateos-Martinez failed to show that the decision to not amend the charge was an error.

The man was convicted by a jury of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault in connection with Hernandez's death on Aug. 15, 2007.

According to court testimony, an armed man entered Hernandez's salon that day and demanded money.

Hernandez went into an adjacent room where she kept her purse and returned with a small gun she kept for protection. The robber then fired a single shot into the woman's chest, killing her, according to court testimony.

Two witnesses — a client and Hernandez's younger sister — identified Mateos-Martinez in court as the man who killed Hernandez. A woman who was in the getaway car and a former jail inmate also testified that Mateos-Martinez admitted to shooting the woman.

"Stuff went wrong and that really wasn't my intention," Mateos-Martinez said at his sentencing hearing in 2011. "I thought I was just going to go get the money and that was that."

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