California Fugitive Since 2012 Located in Utah Following $3.00 Credit Card Fraud

A fugitive from California wanted for murder since 2012 has been located in Utah after he committed a credit card fraud for a whopping $3.00.

Murder in California

Photo by: Tom Britt

In 2012, 29 year old Jordan Vigil was found dead in a garage in Castro Valley, California. The man suspected of his murder fled prior to police arriving on scene. Police assumed the suspect may have fled the country as he possibly had ties outside the United States. The case went cold until just recently when the suspect was located in Utah.

Credit card fraud in Utah

33 year old Cody Tripp was the sole suspect in the murder of Jordan Vigil in California but managed to steer clear of law enforcement’s radar for seven years. It wasn’t until Tripp made the mistake of fraudulently using another person’s credit card in Utah that he was eventually caught for credit card fraud as well as the seven year old murder. It isn’t known publicly what Tripp used the stolen card for, but the amount of just over $3.00 probably wasn’t worth it.

Criminal charges

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When someone unlawfully takes possession of another’s credit or debit card in Utah, it is considered a type of fraud – regardless of whether or not they used the card to go on a shopping spree or to buy a drink at a mini-mart. Credit card fraud that gets reported to police as what happened in this case is investigated thoroughly and penalized as a second or third degree felony, depending on the quantity of cards stolen. Utah Code 76-6-506.3 states “. . . an individual is guilty of a third degree felony who: acquires a financial transaction card from another without the consent of the card holder or the issuer”. If the person is in possession of 100 or more stolen cards, the charges are increased to a second degree felony.

Don’t run – Get an attorney

Tripp’s fraud charge in Utah is nothing compared to the homicide charge he faces back in California. Facing serious criminal charges can be frightening, especially when facing a charge that could mean life in prison or even the death penalty. Running from the law may buy a person some time, but it is always better to face a charge head on with the help of a reputable criminal defense attorney.

Utah Man Who Left Woman Stranded in the Desert to Die Released to AP&P

A Utah man who left a woman stranded in the desert to die has been released to the AP&P while the case is still under investigation.

Stranded after a fight

Photo by: Ken Lund

52 year old Cody Alexander Young and 64 year old Jan Pearson Jenkins were camping near Silver City, Utah when they got into an argument, causing Young to leave Jenkins in the desert while he drove off in his van. The two, who were said to have been involved in a relationship and were possibly partaking of illegal drugs together, had been fighting on an off during the trip when Young decided to leave alone. After alerting Jenkin’s brother that she was out in the desert without a vehicle, Young continued on his way, leaving Jenkins to fend for herself near a ghost town where nighttime lows were expected to dip into the lower 40’s. Following an extensive search and no more contact from Young, Jenkins body was discovered over a week later.

Knowingly created a grave risk of death

Following the discovery of Jenkin’s body, police put out a BOLO on young, the last person to see Jenkins alive. Young was located living in his van near Yuba Lake and arrested for murder. Although the final autopsy has not been completed yet, there has not been any information released stating that Jenkin’s death was the result of any type of assault from Young. It appears that Young was charged with murder due solely to the fact that he left her stranded in the desert to die from exposure. Utah Code 76-5-203 defines the many elements of murder as when someone:

• “. . . intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another;

• Intending to cause serious bodily injury to another, the actor commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of another;

• The actor is engaged in the commission . . . of any predicate offense . . . ;

• A person other than a party . . . is killed in the course of the commission . . . of any predicate offense;

• . . . The actor recklessly causes the death a peace officer or military service member in uniform while in the commission or attempted commission or . . . and assault against a peace officer [or during] interference with a peace officer while making a lawful arrest . . . ;

• [or in Young’s case] Acting under circumstances evidencing a depraved indifference to human life, the actor knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another and thereby causes the death of another”.

Investigation continues

Young may have not intended to cause serious bodily injury or death to Jenkins but by leaving her in the desert exposed to the elements, he put her in a position that could cause death. Perhaps his reaching out to Jenkin’s brother however was a way for him to ensure Jenkins would be brought home safely. Unfortunately during the following search for Jenkins, Young failed to reach out and provide any more information that could have led to the rescue of the Utah woman instead of the recovery of her body. Why Young chose to stay silent has yet to be determined. Although arrested for murder, since Young was not seen as a danger to others in the community, he was released to the Adult Probation and Parole where he is required to remain in Utah while the investigation into the death of Jenkins continues. For more information on dealing with unintentional murder or other criminal charges in Utah, contact a reputable attorney.

Aggravated Murder Charges for Utah Teacher Who Shot Husband’s Girlfriend

A Utah teacher has been arrested for aggravated murder after she shot and killed the girlfriend of her ex-husband while the teacher’s three year old twins watched in horror.

In the presence of children

Photo by: RONg

32 year old Chelsea Cook, a teacher at Skyridge High School in the Alpine Utah district was arrested after she opened fire on 26 year old Lisa Williams who was dating Cook’s ex-husband. Cook came to her ex-husband’s apartment in Midvale, Utah to bring medicine to one of her three year old twins who were in the care of their father and his girlfriend, Williams. After delivering the medicine, Cook let herself inside the apartment uninvited where Williams was decorating the Christmas tree with the two toddlers. Cook locked herself in the bathroom and refused to leave. When she finally emerged, she went to her jacket and retrieved a firearm. She then pointed the weapon at Williams and opened fire. Following the shooting, Cook went to her two children who were present during the traumatizing incident while her ex-husband attempted to give first aid to Williams. Cook then made her way again to her jacket and was physically restrained by her ex-husband until police and emergency crews arrived. Cook was then arrested while Williams was transported to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.

Aggravated murder

Cook was arrested for aggravated murder, which carries more severe penalties than murder. Murder, which is described as “. . . [intentionally or knowingly] causing the death of another person is a first-degree felony, punishable by life in prison and a $10,000 fine. Aggravated murder is also done intentionally or knowingly but with other factors that make the crime more serious. Some of these factors or elements may include when the homicide:

• took place in a jail or prison;
• occurred during a robbery, rape, sexual abuse, arson, kidnapping, or other serious offense;
• was committed by someone who was already convicted of murder;
• was committed by someone with a criminal history of aggravated assault, kidnapping, rape, felony discharge of a firearm, or other crime listed in Utah Code 76-5-202 (1)(j);
• prevented a witness from testifying or otherwise “distrupt[ed] or hinder[ed] any lawful governmental function.

In the case of Cook, she opened fire on Williams while her ex-husband and two small children were also in the room. This “. . . knowingly created a great risk of death to a person other than the victim and the actor” as stated in Utah Code 76-5-202 which enhances her crime of murder aggravated murder. Aggravated murder is punishable as a first degree felony with life in prison or a capitol felony if prosecutors seek the death penalty.

Premeditated or crime of passion

It is unknown if Cook planned on killing Williams or if it was a crime of passion after seeing her children and ex with another woman. She was carrying a weapon, but so are many residents throughout Utah. Did she in fact go to the apartment with the plan to kill Williams or did she completely lose it after arriving to see someone else living her life, happily making Christmas ornaments with her children. A crime of passion or heat of passion occurs when someone feels immense feelings such as rage and reacts violently. Many times crimes of passion occur between romantic partners especially when someone feels betrayed perhaps by a cheating partner. Cook and her ex-husband were divorced, but even strong feelings as a mother feeling the loss of her children to another woman could have pushed her over the edge, leading her to brutally remove the person standing in the way of her children. Crimes of passion and other crimes that occur when the individual is not in the right mind do not go unpunished, especially in the state of Utah. They can however, lead toward leniency regarding punishments which for Cook, could mean the difference between life and death.