A plot to collect a debt over the weekend ended in the aggravated robbery and murder of a Utah man.
49 year old Tonita Vianay Rico was arrested for aggravated robbery and murder after she hired a couple men to threaten a man that supposedly owed her money. Tonita led the hired men to the apartment of 30 year old TJ Toussaint L’Ourerture Tyler, Jr. after which the two men forced their way into TJ’s home and robbed him. Tonita waited outside only to flee with the two men after the shooting.
Two first degree felonies
Tonita and her hired ruffians when located are facing charges for first degree aggravated murder and first degree aggravated robbery. No details have been released on whether or not Tonita’s hired ruffians took anything from the apartment before or after the shooting however they are still facing the robbery charges.
According to Utah Code 76-6-301, Robbery is described as when a person “unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take personal property in the possession of another (…) by means of force or fear” or if they “use force or fear of immediate force against another in the course of committing a theft or wrongful appropriation.” The way the two hired men barged through the victim’s door in behalf of an unclaimed debt showed force or fear while attempting to take the owed debt from the victim. The aggravated charges incurred are for the use of a dangerous weapon and for causing serious injuries or death to another.
Who’s to blame?
Each first degree felony that Tonita and her friends will be charged with carries a penalty of five years to life in prison with a fine up to $10,000. A few questions remain unanswered however such as whether or not Tonita knew her friends were armed and if she was on board with the situation escalating the way it did. Even as a backseat participant who didn’t even step food in the apartment however, Tonita is still expected to take responsibility in the aggravated robbery and assault of TJ Toussaint L’Ouverture Tyler Jr.
Those who are facing serious charges or who have gotten mixed up with friends who have made criminal choices are encouraged to seek the guidance of an experienced defense attorney.