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Steve Landeen

2 men charged with murder of Orem man

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Nov. 27, 2013 at 7:05 p.m.


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AMERICAN FORK — Two men in Utah County have been charged with murder after allegedly gunning down an Orem man while he was driving down the road.

Mason French and Travis Waldron, both 24, were both arrested within hours of the fatal shooting of Rupert Miley, 42, on November 19.

Police said the motive for the shooting was a result of a drug deal gone bad.

Judge James Taylor of the Fourth District Court informed French and Waldron that they both face murder charges as well as obstruction of justice.

Miley was found to be in critical condition after a single car accident on 800 North in Orem. But paramedics discovered Miley's most serious injury was the result of a gunshot wound to his back.

Police later determined French and Waldron had been together in the car with Miley.

"We are still in the course of investigating and gathering the information that we need to, but it appears they were both involved in some type of an altercation that resulted in the shooting death of the victim," said Julia Thomas, a deputy Utah County attorney who is prosecuting the case.

Court documents confirm that a bullet hole was found in the back of the driver's seat of the car Miley was driving.

"Anytime there is an alleged drug deal going on that results in the death of a person, where they are willing to have a firearm in the course of it, that's a huge concern," Thomas said.

Police believe that French pulled the trigger from the backseat, but prosecutors said they believe both men are responsible for Miley's death.

"We believe they were both involved in the crime, and we are still involved in the investigation of the crime and exactly what happened," Thomas said.

The next step in the case will be to find a public defender for each suspect to ensure there are no conflicts in their legal representation because prosecutors believe it is likely the men will each try to blame the other.

French and Waldron will return to court on December 10 before Judge Thomas Low at the Fourth District courthouse in American Fork for their next hearing.

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Sam Penrod

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