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West Valley man gets life in prison for forcing man to shoot another

West Valley man gets life in prison for forcing man to shoot another

(Salt Lake County Jail)


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SALT LAKE CITY — A West Valley man was sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday for kidnapping two men, then forcing one to kill the other.

Christopher Kim Leech, 38, was found guilty in September of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of Cleon Knight, 34. He was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. An additional, concurrent life without parole sentence was handed down for one of two aggravated kidnapping charges.

A 15-years-to-life sentence was also ordered for a second count of aggravated kidnapping, with sentences of five years to life given for two counts of aggravated robbery, and obstructing justice.

All charges are first-degree felonies, and all sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

Knight's body was found near Snowbasin in January 2014. Police believe Knight and a friend were kidnapped from West Valley City around Nov. 23, 2013.

Police said Leech and three others — Viliamu Seumanu, 44, of West Jordan; Tina Maxine Soules, 44, of West Valley City; and Theron Myore, 45, of Roosevelt — kidnapped Knight and his friend over an unsettled drug debt.

After holding the men against their will, police say the group drove the two men to the remote mountain road. There, Leech and Seumanu marched them off into the snow, where Leech shot Knight and ordered his friend to do the same or be killed himself, charges state.

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The group then left Knight's body behind and brought his friend back to West Valley City, making him burn his clothes before releasing him.

Seumanu was found guilty in April 2015 of murder and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, first-degree felonies, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the aggravated kidnapping, and terms of 15 years to life in prison for the murder and second aggravated kidnapping charges.

Soules pleaded guilty Oct. 17 to manslaughter and kidnapping, with both counts reduced from a first-degree felony to a second-degree felony. One count of aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, was dismissed. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

Myore is charged with murder and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, all first-degree felonies. A jury trial is scheduled to begin April 4.

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McKenzie Romero

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