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Family of murdered man wondering why suspect has not yet gone to trial

Oct 17, 2023, 6:20 PM | Updated: 6:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A brutal murder and a family left without a son and brother.

Now more than three years later, that family is left wondering why the alleged killer who reportedly confessed to the murder has still not been tried or convicted.

It was the morning of Sept. 2, 2020, when Riley Nagal, 26, was found stabbed to death in his South Salt Lake apartment.

In a probable cause statement then-69 year old Edward Kennedy who also lived at the apartment allegedly confessed to killing Nagle telling officers, “I stuck my knife in him and twisted,” because he thought he took his cell phone.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in total disbelieve,” said Jesse Nagle, Riley’s brother to KSL TV. “He was not only my brother, but he was my best friend. [He was] a caring and kind and hilarious, amazing brother.”

Not any closer to a trial

Now all these years later and hearing after hearing, Kennedy is still not close to being tried.

“I’m extremely frustrated. At the start of this, had the feeling it was going to be a slam dunk case,” said Jesse. “I want him to finally be sentenced and have this over with so we can have closure on it. It has caused a lot of frustration on the smallest things because I don’t know what to do. I don’t have closure. I want him to finally face the music.”

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill tells KSL TV that he understands the families frustration.

“My heart goes out to them. When you have lost a loved one you have a right to want to resolve that,” he said.

But Gill says some of the delays have to do with COVID-19 in 2020 when courts were shut down and Edwards continuous back and forth competency hearings where he was found incompetent to stand trial and now he’s found competent to stand trial.  He says there are a lot of procedural hearings that have to take place to make sure there is not a mistrial.

“While a probable cause statement may say these are allegations and these are what we believe in, there is a difference from charging a case, proving a case, and convicting someone and then ultimately sentencing someone,” said Gill. “I would much rather be slow and deliberate and get it right than to expedite and get it wrong and violate someone’s rights.”

Frustration with law officials

Jesse Nagle says he’s also frustrated with the communication he’s getting from the DA’s office about all the hearings. He says they are getting word the day of or after the fact.

Sim Gill says that’s something he stresses to his prosecutors to make sure they are communicating with families. “If there was miscommunication, that’s on us. We will own that. That is not something I will tolerate or allow.”

Edwards had a competency hearing on Monday which was again continued. His next hearing competency hearing is set for Nov. 6.

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Family of murdered man wondering why suspect has not yet gone to trial