2 more arrested in connection with fatal shooting in Taylorsville

Posted at 3:10 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 17:40:29-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — A man and woman were arrested Monday in connection with a homicide investigation in Taylorsville.

On June 4, police responded to Atherton Park Apartments, near 4600 South and 800 West, on reports that a man had been shot. Police said in the early stages of the investigation that there was an "armed confrontation between two groups of people."

The victim, 30-year-old Joey Michael Duran, was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.

Sofia Marie Penrod, 21, was arrested the following morning on suspicion of murder and obstructing justice. Last week, however, she was officially charged with obstructing justice, but not murder. Court documents say she gave statements to police that contradicted other witnesses, as well as messages found on her phone.

The two newly arrested suspects are 26-year-old Lehi Alexander Morantes and 23-year-old Danielle Jordan Valdez.

Valdez faces one felony charge of obstructing justice.

Morantes, the suspected shooter, was arrested for murder, obstructing justice, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, and five additional felony counts of illegally discharging a firearm.

According to a probable cause affidavit, investigators learned that Morantes and Valdez lived at the apartment where bullet casings were found outside the door. Witnesses also described seeing a pickup speed away from the scene, which police said matched a truck driven by Morantes.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for the apartment, and they found handgun ammunition that matched the casings found at the scene, but not the weapon itself.

Witnesses told police that Duran went to the scene that night directly after the funeral of a man who died in a rollover accident the previous week. He and others allegedly went there to confront someone who they believed was involved in the crash. Further details on what then led to the shooting were not available.

Investigators learned that Morantes and Valdez had fled the state of Utah and were in California. However, they later returned and were taken into custody.

All three suspects are being held without bail.