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Tooele man charged with aggravated murder in Easter robbery

(Salt Lake County Jail)


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SALT LAKE CITY — A Tooele man accused of shooting a man in the head at close range during a robbery on Easter Sunday has now been charged with aggravated murder.

Jeffery Ray Shepherd, 35, is charged in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.

The body of Matthew Holt, 46, of South Jordan, was found April 16 partially hanging out of the driver's side door of his car in a parking lot of a closed business at 952 W. 3265 South. Prosecutors believe he was shot at close range in the head.

No gun or shell casing was found at the scene. Surveillance video from nearby businesses showed a silver Chevrolet Sonic LTZ leaving the area just after 1:30 p.m. Another picked up audio of people talking, "followed by a single gunshot," charging documents state.

Investigators started the laborious task of tracking down every silver Chevy Sonic in the state. They got a big break on May 14 when an off-duty Salt Lake police officer who lives in Tooele spotted a car that matched that description and followed it. The Tooele Police Department was called to assist and stopped Shepherd.

Upon further investigation, police learned from Shepherd's roommates that he had left the house early on Easter Sunday and didn't return until the evening. Another woman in Murray told police that Shepherd was supposed to go to her house that day but later told her that he didn't show up because he had "killed somebody," court records state.

When interviewed, Shepherd, after initially claiming he was home all day, later told police that he "exited his car with a gun, confronted Mr. Holt and demanded money from him. He then shot Mr. Holt in the head using .40 Smith and Wesson M&P," according to the charges.

Shepherd said he then picked up the shell casing and disposed of the gun in a dumpster at a McDonald's two days later, charges state.

Holt's parents said Matthew Holt did not have a debit or a credit card. When police found his body, his empty wallet was located in his car.

Investigators do not believe the two men knew each other. Court records show Shepherd has several traffic-related offenses, but otherwise no significant criminal history.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office is requesting Shepherd be held without bail.

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Pat Reavy

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