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Leaders Call for Calm in Response to Contractor Murder

Leaders Call for Calm in Response to Contractor Murder

Posted - Jan. 12, 2004 at 5:29 p.m.



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Sam Penrod reportingTony Yapias: "We don't want you to take the law into your own hands"

Hispanic leaders call for calm, in response to the murder Friday of a building contractor, and the arrest of one of his workers.

Eyewitness News first reported Friday night that the man who was killed was the subject of several complaints to the Utah Labor Commission--including one by the man suspected of the shooting.

But Hispanic leaders fear the suspect in the murder may be considered a hero by other illegal immigrants--something they decry.

The shooting is highlighting what Hispanic leaders say is a common problem in Utah. Illegal immigrants who are doing work--but not getting a paycheck.

Several Hispanic workers wait to file wage complaints today against their employers. They say they've done the work--but get excuses instead of getting paid.

Daniel Filing Wage Complaint : "Come next Monday, next Friday, next week, tomorrow, I'll call you, (reporter:) But no money. (Daniel:) no money"

Police say Friday's murder in Lehi--involved a similar complaint over claims of unpaid wages.

Joe Crummy--the man who was shot to death-- was the subject of 19- formal wage complaints, including some that were filed as Eyewitness News went along last September for a special report.

And one of those complaints involving Crummy's company, Prestige Exteriors-- was filed just last month by

Jesus Hernandez--claiming Crummy owed him 13-hundred 45 dollars. Hernandez -- an illegal immigrant who has lived in Utah since 1999, now faces charges in Crummy's murder

Tony Yapias Director, State Office of Hispanic Affairs: "We receive hundreds of calls a year and in most cases we have been able to resolve these types of cases, the majority of the time."

Utah Hispanic leaders want Hispanic workers to know there are legal avenues for workers to pursue. But they admit many workers don't understand or are afraid to got after their bosses.

Tony Yapias Director, State Office of Hispanic Affairs: "I believe the number of immigrants who report to my office or the labor division are a small number compared to the number who would report it otherwise."

If someone believes they are being owed money by an employer--they can contact the Utah Labor Commission or the Utah Office of Hispanic affairs.

Translators for Spanish are available to help and questions about someone's immigration status will NOT be asked.

Sherrie Hayashi, Utah Labor Commission: "We don't ask whether someone has a right to work in the united states or not. We are just interested to see they are owed wages for work they have performed."

The suspect in the shooting, Jesus Hernandez, surrendered to police on Friday and remains in the Utah County jail. Bail has been set at 500- thousand dollars.

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