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Man found dead inside South Salt Lake home identified

Posted - Feb. 23, 2010 at 3:43 p.m.



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SOUTH SALT LAKE -- Police have released the name of the man found dead Monday inside his South Salt Lake home. They say he is 64-year-old Steven Leon Villiard, and he died from a single gunshot wound.

Police said the shooting was not a random act, but they did not give any more details about the case.

A family member discovered Villiard in his home at 73 E. Claybourne Ave. (2700 South).

Gary Keller, with the South Salt Lake Police Department, said, "Right now we're looking at evidence, video tape, talking to people in the neighborhood and witnesses."

Several neighbors have said they didn't know Villiard all that well, and they often saw him in his yard with people coming and going from the house. They assumed the people were family members.

Police have not discussed a possible motive, but Rob Weston, who owns an auto shop across the street from the home, has a theory.

"There was drug trafficking going on over there, we're pretty sure," Weston said. "There [were] people parked in our parking lot here, and they'd walk over there. It was almost a daily occurrence."

Police would not confirm that, but court records indicate Villiard had a lengthy criminal history involving drug charges.

Weston said he worked on the Villiard's cars on occasion. He said Villiard also often babysat his young grandson.

Weston said the woman who once lived in the house would "turn over in her grave" if she saw what had happened to the home since her death.

"That house just went right downhill after she died," he said.

Police are still working on a suspect description and possible motive.

South Salt Lake police are hoping surveillance video from a nearby gas station will lead to more answers; however, the gas station manager says he did not see anything suspicious.

Police also searched a car outside the home Monday but found no leads there.

"The car belonged to a worker in the area, and apparently it had matched the description of something that was mentioned," Keller said. "So, it became an item of interest. We looked into it thoroughly."

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Story compiled with contributions from Sandra Yi, Marc Giauque and Shara Park.

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