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Man charged with murdering woman in fight over cellphone

Kidus Chane Yohannes is pictured in this 2018 photograph. He was charged Thursday with aggravated murder and accused of stabbing a woman to death, allegedly because he believed she had stolen his cellphone.

Kidus Chane Yohannes is pictured in this 2018 photograph. He was charged Thursday with aggravated murder and accused of stabbing a woman to death, allegedly because he believed she had stolen his cellphone. (Salt Lake Police)



SALT LAKE CITY — Criminal charges were filed Thursday against a man who police say stabbed a woman to death, believing she had taken his cellphone, then attacked two men who tried to intervene and help her.

Kidus Chane Yohannes, 34, a transient, was charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder and attempted murder, both first-degree felonies.

On Nov. 7, 2018, Salt Lake police responded to a report of multiple people being stabbed in a dumpster enclosure located behind a Dollar Tree, 477 N. 300 West. Officers arrived to discover that 20-year-old Candice Rose Samples had been stabbed 26 times. She later died at a local hospital.

Jeffrey Plante, who was found on the sidewalk near the store, was also taken to the hospital in critical condition.

A witness told police that Yohannes had been holding a knife to Samples "and saying he was going to kill Candace if she didn't give his phone back to him that she had stolen," according to charging documents. The witness ran to a convenience store to tell Plante what was happening.

Plante climbed a fence to get into the dumpster enclosure to help, but was immediately attacked, the charges state.

"Jeff screamed out that he was getting stabbed," according to the charges.

Another witness told investigators that a short time later, "he saw (Yohannes) over Candace stabbing her," the court documents allege.

Police used surveillance video and DNA testing on blood found on Yohannes' shoes to link him to the crimes, according to the charges. The blood on the shoes was determined to be Samples' blood, according to investigators.

The forensic testing, however, wasn't completed until May. The reason for the delay was not immediately known. A Salt Lake police spokesman noted, however, that a different detective took over the case from the one original assigned to give it a "fresh set of eyes."

Yohannes was arrested on Monday.

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