CRIME

Teens charged with murder also had violent juvenile histories

Oct 17, 2022, 4:42 PM | Updated: Nov 19, 2022, 12:31 am
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(FILE PHOTO, Deseret News)
(FILE PHOTO, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two teenagers charged as adults with murder for allegedly shooting a driver during an attempted carjacking have been arrested several times over the past year, in connection with other violent crimes that include another shooting, allegedly hitting a police officer with a car and armed robbery, according to court records.

Christian Rodriguez, 16, of West Jordan, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and two counts of discharge of a firearm causing serious injury, while Nestor Del Valle, 17, was charged with murder and aggravated robbery. All the charges are first degree felonies.

Police believe the teens shot and killed 17-year-old Bryan Galicia while attempting to carjack his vehicle just before 1 a.m. on Sept. 10 near 500 S. Post Street (950 West).

At the time of the shooting, both suspects were known to law enforcers and had been in the juvenile justice system. Rodriquez, despite being just 16, had already acquired an extensive juvenile criminal history, prosecutors say.

According to records from 3rd District Juvenile Court, on April 24, 2021, Rodriquez — who was 15 at the time — and two other juveniles assaulted a fourth person at a Salt Lake County home and pointed a handgun at the victim. After fleeing the scene and getting into a crash near 6200 South and 4070 West, police found Rodriquez and another juvenile hiding in a window well and recovered two guns, the charges state. Rodriquez was charged in that incident with three counts of aggravated assault, fleeing the scene of an accident involving injury, assault and possession of a handgun by a minor.

On June 24, 2021, a car with several people inside, including Rodriguez, drove past another group standing outside an apartment complex and began honking their horn at them. One of the tenants began broadcasting the confrontation on Facebook Live as another asked the group why they were honking, court records state. As the tenant approached the vehicle, someone inside the car tells him to “back up,” followed by “I’ll kill you,” the charges state. Then, as the vehicle drives off, a single gunshot is heard.

“The person holding the phone at this time can be heard in obvious pain and yelling for someone to call the police,” investigators who reviewed the video noted while also stating the victim was shot in the leg.

Rodriquez, who police determined to be the driver, was charged with obstruction of justice.

Less than a month later, on July 19, 2021, officers with the Juvenile Justice and Youth Services’ apprehension team were looking for two juveniles and learned the two had been staying at Rodriquez’s home, charging documents state. As officers approached the home, Rodriquez attempted to escape by climbing out of a basement window, the charges state. He was charged in that case with obstructing justice, aiding or concealing a youth offender and failing to stop at the command of law enforcement.

On March 9 this year, a West Valley police officer attempted to pull over a speeding vehicle near 2900 S. Redwood Road. The vehicle drove around other cars stopped at a red light at 2320 South and then collided into the back of a semitruck near 2200 S. Redwood Road, according to charging documents. Rodriguez was sitting in the back seat at the time.

The driver was eventually taken into custody after struggling with the officer, the charges state. Rodriguez then jumped into the driver’s seat and disobeyed a second officer’s commands to stop, according to police.

“Christian attempted to drive the vehicle forward, but it had already crashed into a truck and was blocked. (The officer) attempted to pull Christian from the vehicle, but Christian’s shirt ripped. Christian then put the vehicle in reverse, accelerating rapidly. He struck (the officer) with the door, then hit a police cruiser behind him, pushed it several feet and caused it to hit (the other officer’s) police cruiser, then put the vehicle in drive and sped away,” charging documents state.

Rodriguez was charged in that incident with assault on a police officer, failing to respond to an officer’s signal to stop, criminal mischief and leaving the scene of an accident. He was awaiting trial on that case at the time of the fatal carjacking last month.

Then, on May 4, a father went to Rodriguez’s home to talk to his daughter, who was living at the home with Rodriguez, according to charging documents. The charges state Rodriguez pointed a gun at the father and told him to get out. He was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a handgun by a minor.

“(He) has consistently re-offended, including on pretrial. (Rodriguez) has already shown that he has no intent to be law-abiding or to comply with court-imposed conditions,” prosecutors wrote in the latest charging documents, requesting to a judge that Rodriguez be held without bail.

Likewise, Del Valle was supposed to be on home detention at the time of the shooting and wear a GPS ankle monitor as he waited for trial on charges of four counts of aggravated robbery, court records state. He was not wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the shooting.

“In less than seven months, (Del Valle) has been charged with two separate episodes of aggravated robbery. The current charges now include an alarming escalation to murder,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents while also requesting he be held without bail.

Del Valle was charged earlier this year with four counts of aggravated robbery for an alleged incident on Feb. 1. In that case, four people were walking to a bus stop near 3900 S. 500 East, when Del Valle and two others approached the group, according to charging documents. The men surrounded the victims and Del Valle told one person to empty his pockets, the charges state.

When the victim said no, “Nestor replied, ‘What, you didn’t hear me straight?’ Nestor then lifted his shirt, exposing a black handgun in his waistband,” according to the charges.

Del Valle took the victim’s wallet, cash and Social Security card and then smashed the victim’s cellphone, the charges state. He then took a chain necklace from another person, according to the charges.

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Teens charged with murder also had violent juvenile histories