MAGNA, Utah — Formal charges were filed against a man accused of murdering a Magna woman and attempting to kill her young daughter, and according to the documents the crime was connected to illegal drugs.
Jason Alan Black was arrested several days after the May 31 murder of Natalia Casagrande in Magna, and formal charges were filed against the man Tuesday.
A PC statement sheds more light on the circumstances leading up to the murder. According to the document, Black regularly purchased marijuana from Casagrande’s husband, a Mr. Arceo, but had failed to arrive for a scheduled purchase on May 30. The next day, while Arceo was at work, he received a message from his wife asking how much marijuana she should give to Black.
After the initial messages, neither Arceo or Casagrande’s mother were able to get a hold of the woman, so Arceo went home to check on her. When he arrived, he found Casagrande’s 5-year-old daughter crying in the living room with marks on her face and neck. Casagrande was found in the basement, dead of a gunshot wound to the head.
“Then he comes out and he is screaming, ‘Call the police, call the paramedics, my wife has been shot!’ and he had blood all over his hands and his arms and stuff,'” one neighbor told FOX 13 News of the moments after the discovery.
Arceo told police several drawers in the home had been opened and the contents disturbed. He said 3-4 pounds of marijuana was stolen along with $600-$800 in cash and two handguns.
The young girl told police that Black had been let into the home by Casagrande, after which the pair went to the basement. Later, Black came upstairs and called the girl to him. He then allegedly held a pillow against her neck, choking her.
The next day, police responded to the Holiday Inn Express at 10680 South Auto Mall Drive, where a maid had found marijuana and cash while cleaning a room. A further search also turned up blood-covered men’s clothing, a bloody knife and one of the missing handguns. Black’s driver’s license was found in the pocket of the bloody pants.
Black was arrested at his parents house on June 2, and he was in possession of the second stolen handgun. Black has been charged with criminal homicide, aggravated murder as a first-degree felony; attempted criminal homicide, aggravated murder as a first-degree felony; aggravated burglary as a first-degree felony; aggravated robbery as a first-degree felony and obstructing justice as a second-degree felony.
Police also arrested Estephania Sanchez-Mendoza in connection with the case. She was accused of being behind the wheel of the car that Black took to and from the scene of the murder.