Convicted Utah killer charged with stabbing second inmate

Convicted Utah killer charged with stabbing second inmate

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UTAH STATE PRISON — A prison inmate already serving up to life in prison for a murder conviction who was also convicted of stabbing another inmate last year, has been charged yet again.

Ernesto Navarro, 24, of Salt Lake City, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with aggravated assault by an inmate and possession of a dangerous weapon by an inmate. Because of prior offenses, both charges are first-degree felonies.

On Oct. 17, Navarro and Jose Fonseca, 30, entered the cell of another inmate and assaulted him. The victim suffered “deep slash wounds on his face and thigh,” the charges state. Two razors were found inside the cell, according to investigators.

Fonseca was also charged Wednesday with aggravated assault by an inmate and possession of a dangerous weapon by an inmate, first-degree felonies. He is currently serving a sentence of five years to life for opening fire on police officers in Salt Lake City in 2016.

For Navarro, the attack comes on the heels of another violent episode last year.

On June 30, 2018, Navarro chased down another inmate and stabbed him multiple times. The victim was treated for cuts to his head, face and neck, according to charging documents. He was charged with assault by a prisoner, a first-degree felony, and later pleaded guilty to a reduced third-degree felony charge, according to court records.

In 2015, Navarro was convicted of murder in the drive-by shooting death of Francisco Antonio Colon, 40, of West Valley City.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against a total of seven Utah State Prison inmates on Wednesday for various assaults or for having weapons.

Enrique Rodriguez, 32, was charged with aggravated assault by an inmate, a second-degree felony; and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony, after allegedly stabbing another inmate with a homemade weapon on Oct. 2.

Nathan Chad Spencer, 40, Christian James Timothy, 26, and Shawn David Zirkel, 45, were each charged with aggravated assault by a prisoner, a first-degree felony, and assault by a prisoner, a second-degree felony, for an attack on another inmate on Oct. 12, according to charging documents.

Gilbert Vigil, 26, was charged with being a restricted person in possession of a weapon, a first-degree felony, after corrections officers found a 7-inch metal shank on him on Oct. 30, according to charging documents.

It was not known if the incidents are connected.

The Utah Department of Corrections declined to comment on this story.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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