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Murderer Gets Fifty Years In Prison

Murderer Gets Fifty Years In Prison
November 05
07:34 2018

Salomon Diaz was sentenced to 50 years for the courthouse murder of two Navajo women in 2016. Diaz, 49, was sentenced for the killing of 25-year-old Ashley Utley and her mother, Sherry Quintero-Davenport, 45. Diaz not only killed the two Navajo women, shooting them 14 times at close range, but Diaz also wounded Angela Chambers, then 68, aunt to Quintero-Davenport. Diaz accepted a plea agreement earlier this year and was sentenced in Navajo County Superior Court in Holbrook, Ariz., the same place where the double murder took place on June 28, 2016.

Diaz killed the two women following a custody dispute involving two of his grandsons. The children’s parents were Utley and Diaz’s son, former Gallup, N.M., police officer Jesse Diaz. “Sherry was my only daughter, and Ashley was my only granddaughter,” said Priscilla Quintero as she addressed the judge during Diaz’s sentencing. “They were brutally murdered in my presence outside of  this courthouse by Salomon Diaz. Losing my children is the greatest loss I have ever experienced. It demolished me. I feel I lost a part of my own identity.” Utley’s family members said the younger Diaz and Ashley Utley had a mercurial – sometimes violent – relationship; with Jesse Diaz preventing Utley from seeing her family. Diaz and Utley had never married.

When she was able to leave Diaz, Utley began making plans to gain custody of her sons, then aged two and three. However, obstacles were placed in her way – including the younger Diaz taking the boys to his parent’s home in Snowflake, Ariz. This led to the states of New Mexico and Arizona trying to figure out which had jurisdiction in the case, since Utley and the Diaz’s Salomon and his wife, Mary – each claimed home state was the primary one for the children. While Mary Diaz did not outright lie, she did make misleading statements regarding the situation. She failed to mention that her son was at the time a Gallup police officer; she also neglected to mention that 11 days before the double murder, Utley had complained to Gallup Police that Diaz was refusing her access to her children. As part of Diaz’s plea deal, his wife will not face any charges for any he role she may have played in the situation. A Gallup police officer tried to negotiate a meeting between Diaz and Utley. Diaz agreed to meet Utley in Gallup at Ford Canyon Park. He then changed his mind, telling the officer his lawyer had advised him not to meet or talk with the police. The officer told Diaz – who was still in Gallup at the time – that  he would have New Mexico Child Protective Services get involved since under New Mexico law Utley still had equal rights over the boys. The officer later made other unsuccessful attempts to contact Diaz. A second officer was finally able to reach Diaz via cell phone.

Though Diaz said he was still in Gallup, he had packed the boys up and was en route to Snowflake, Ariz.The Diaz family claimed that Utley was an addict and abusive toward the children, however, a report filed by a Gallup police office contradicted that claim. The 2016 hearing – where Utley was awarded custody – was the first stroke of good luck she’d had in her fight to get her children back. However, her momentary elation was erased in a blizzard of gunfire by an embittered grandfather. That fateful day at the courthouse was the first time Chambers had seen her granddaughter in six years. “It has turned my life upside down,” Chambers told the judge. “I  remember those few moments of the murder of two beautiful souls, whose  lives were taken without warning, without cause, without hesitation,without any feelings from a man who thought it was his right.”

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