Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Disruptive Behavior Leads Utah Judge to Delay Bear River Rancheria Triple Homicide Suspect’s Hearing

Mauricio Sanchez-Johnson during a virtual courtroom appearance on March 2, 2021

Mauricio Sanchez-Johnson, the 19-year-old suspect in the February 10, 2021 Loleta triple homicide, displayed what a Utah courtroom bailiff described as “disruptive” behavior delaying yesterday’s hearing set to address his extradition back to Humboldt County.

When the judge inquired as to Sanchez-Johnson’s current status, the bailiff told her, “Your Honor, we don’t have Sanchez-Johnson in the (jail) courtroom. He was being disruptive so we took him back to the jail.”

As a result of Sanchez-Johnson’s disruptive behavior, the judge explained that the court will “ just continue the case if somebody is misbehaving in jail” and she set his next hearing to May 4, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. MST.

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature is required to sign a “governor’s warrant” and release Sanchez-Johnson back to this state.

Andrea Sullivan, Sanchez-Johnson’s defense attorney, told us in an earlier interview, Sanchez-Johnson could face a capital case that could result in the death penalty or the possibility of life in prison without parole.

Sullivan told District Attorney Flemming in an email that “if she would like to get Mauricio, drop the special circumstances and makes this a non-capital case.” 

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According to an article in the Lost Coast Outpost, Fleming said that “her office has never asked for the death penalty and will not do so in this case.”

On February 10, 2021, Sanchez-Johnson is accused of killing 16-year-old Shelly Moon and Shelly’s mother, 40-year-old Margaret Moon and her mother’s fiance 40-year-old Nikki Metcalf. 

A search warrant affidavit issued by the Utah State Bureau of Investigations describes Sanchez-Johnson arriving to his brother’s the night of the suspected killings in a panic and covered in blood. The affidavit describes Humboldt County Detective Head speaking with Mauricio’s brothers. The brother found Sanchez-Johnson in possession of a pistol and wearing bloody clothes.  Mauricio allegedly told his brother he had shot someone but later explained he had shot multiple people. The witness told the investigator that Mauricio proceeded to change his clothes and left the residence with a pistol and “a bag containing his bloody clothes.”

Sanchez-Johnson fled Humboldt County on February 11, 20201 accompanied by Von Eric Keener and his mother Melissa Johnson. The group was arrested in Utah on Interstate 80 after officers deployed spike strips to halt their pursuit. Currently, Sanchez-Johnson has been in a Utah detention center held without an opportunity for bail until he is extradited to Humboldt County.

Earlier Chapter

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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