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Charges filed, new details released in 1979 cold case homicide in Holladay

Posted at 10:30 AM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 20:04:23-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office released new details Friday about the 1979 murder of a Holladay man.

According to Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, deputies found the body of Jack Richardson in the doorway of his home on January 5 that year.

One week after Richardson's death, detectives interviewed two men, Luis Deltaho and Ivan Vasquez, who each told investigators they had been at Deltaho's apartment as Hector "Cuchy" Brito and Pascual "Pacola" Alfonseca discussed who they could rob.

According to Rivera, Vasquez told investigators he had suggested Jack Richardson as a potential victim, and he drove Brito and Alfonseca to a point near Richardson's home.  Vasquez also said that, during the drive, Brito loaded a .45-caliber Colt firearm.

"Mr. Vasquez stated Brita and Alfonseca told him Mr. Richardson opened the door and, keep in mind, Mr. Richardson was confined to wheelchair. He opened the door and Brito pulled out the gun and stated 'this is a holdup.' Brito stated Mr. Richardson put his hands up and the gun accidentally fired, striking Mr. Richardson in the face," Rivera said during a news conference Friday.

An autopsy performed on Richardson determined the cause of death was a gunshot wound and the manner of his death was homicide.

According to Rivera, Deltaho told investigators that Brito asked him to hide the gun, which he did by placing it under a large rock in Butterfield Canyon. Detectives retrieved the weapon on January 15, 10 days after Richardson was killed.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said multiple acquaintances of Brito and Alfonseca told investigators the pair had left Utah after Richardson's death.

Both Brito and Alfonseca had warrants for their arrest, but neither were located.

In 1991, Gill said, a court recalled those warrants and the case went "off the radar."

Cold case homicide investigators recently reopened the case.

"We are able to put together a valid case to file and officially go through, the first time, the screening  and file the charges and that happened in the last four
weeks," Gill said in a news conference Friday.

Investigators with Unified Police Department said Brito and Alfonseca dressed as women and boarded a bus to flee Utah. The pair, who would now be in their late 50s, may be using aliases and may not be in the United States.

Richardson’s daughters said their father was paraplegic, but that didn’t stop him from spending time with them.

“We went camping, skiing, fishing, waterskiing,” said Cindy Greer, Richardson’s daughter.

After all these years, the pain of losing their father has never subsided.

“It’s been 39 years since he was taken from us and what a cruel thing it was,” said Karin Johnstone, Richardson’s daughter.

“The thing that hurts me most is knowing that they could have pushed him over in his wheelchair. They could have done anything but they didn’t have to shoot him,” said Greer.

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