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Man sentenced for murdering retired elementary school teacher in Taylorsville

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Posted at 3:16 PM, May 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-21 17:21:39-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah –  A man who pleaded guilty in the murder of a Taylorsville woman that occurred last year was sentenced Thursday, and a judge ordered the man to serve 25 years to life for the murder and another five years for a robbery charge.

Bryan S. Quintanilla was arrested in April of last year after 59-year-old Margaret Steffey, a retired elementary school teacher, was found suffocated in her home. Police arrested the man, then 18 and described as being a transient, three hours before he was scheduled to take a flight out of the country. 

According to court records, Quintanillla was sentenced to 25-to-life for aggravated murder and 5 years for aggravated robbery, both of which are first-degree felonies. The sentences at the Utah State Prison are to run consecutively. He was also ordered to pay $7,382.27 in restitution, plus interest.

Part of the case against Quintanilla involved activity on an ATM card that was stolen from Steffy’s home.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said in April of 2014: “The case is unique in a number of ways. First, there were a number of financial crimes being committed. Her ATM card was being used on a regular basis. We were monitoring that and able to use the information in the apprehension.”

Lt. Justin Hoyal, Unified Police Department, said in April of 2014 they believed the person who murdered Steffey knew her.

“We don’t believe this was just a random crime,” he said.  “Obviously there’s indications of no forced entry into the home that would lead us to believe someone had contact with her that possibly she knew.”

Among the purchases made on that card was a plane ticket to a foreign country. Winder said at the time they had arrested Quintanilla at about 7 a.m., and the flight the suspect had bought a ticket for was departing at 10 a.m. that day.