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Suspect charged in murder of man dumped in Nevada desert

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Jan. 15, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.


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AMERICAN FORK -- Prosecutors have filed charges against a Provo man accused of killing an employee in an apparent dispute over money and dumping his body in Nevada.

Police arrested 29-year-old Ramon Alfredo Somoza Jan. 8 after finding evidence he killed a 46-year-old man at his business in American Fork.

On Friday he was charged with murder, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body.

The body of 46-year-old Jesus Landin was found last Thursday by a rancher in a remote area west of Wendover, Nev.

American Fork police believe the murder happened on Dec. 28 in an apartment at the Apollo Dance Hall and Somoza tore out the carpet and painted the walls after the shooting.

Details revealed Friday indicate Somoza not only wrapped the body in plastic with duct tape, but then covered it with a white shower curtain in an attempt to camouflage it in the snow.

The motive is believed to be a confrontation between Landin over wages he believed he was owed from Somoza.

Prosecutor Chad Grunander said, "We're confident in the charges. There's been a very thorough investigation done to this point. It continues. There are statements still being collected, there's a number of pieces of evidence in play here, so there will be a lot of forensic evidence in the future."

Somoza told the judge he is married with children and that he has no money for an attorney.

He was appointed a public defender to represent him on the charges that carry a 15-years-to-life sentence if he is convicted.

Prosecutors say Somoza is a naturalized U.S. citizen and immigrated from El Salvador.

Somoza will return to court at the end of January when the judge will set the case for a preliminary hearing.

He remains in custody at the jail. His bail is set at half a million dollars.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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Sam Penrod

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