Murder In The Family: Bret Lee Etterlein killed his mother, Nyla Earl, after an argument; Sentenced to life in prison

Find-A-Grave: Nyla Deane Lee Earl
Ogdenited arraigned in death of mother
Gun, car linked to killing?
Man who killed his mom may get parole
Inmate seeks ‘life as a normal person’ after killing mother 40 years ago
2 convicted killers to be paroled after serving decades in prison


Offender Number: 114082
DOB: Tue, 27 Jan 1959
Height: 5 Feet 9 Inches
Weight: 261
Sex: M
Location: PAROLE
Parole Date: 07/06/2021

Deadly Duo: Cory Michael Fitzwater and Dalton James Aiken charged with killing Brian Joseph Racine, a homeless man they harassed

Brian Joseph Racine

Brian Joseph Racine obituary
Find-A-Grave: Brian Joseph Racine
Ogden police investigating after body found at 21st Street Pond
Man arrested in connection with body found at 21st Street Pond
Charges: Men suspected in shooting wanted to ‘harass homeless people’
North Ogden man convicted of murder in shooting death of homeless man
North Ogden man found guilty of murder after shooting of man in Ogden homeless camp; 2nd suspect awaits trial
Utahn headed to prison in killing ‘for no reason’ at homeless camp
Utahn headed to prison in killing ‘for no reason’ at homeless camp
The Justice Files: Brian’s story

Dalton James Aiken – convicted, sentenced to 15 years to life in prison
Cory Michael Fitzwater – awaiting trial; trial to begin 9/7/2021


Offender Number: 243830
DOB: Sat, 24 Nov 1990
Height: Feet Inches
Sex: M
Housing Facility: CUCF BOULDER
Parole Hearing: 9/2038
Parole Date: N/A


Deadly Duo: Daniel Ross Viegas-Gonzalez and Theron Nelson Farmer charged with killing Kamron Johnson and wounding his brother, Eric

Kamron Johnson

Kamron Brock (Kameron) Johnson, 18
Eric Johnson Jr., 20 (survived)

Kamron Brock Johnson obituary
Find-A-Grave: Kamron Brock Johnson
Facebook: Remembering Kamron Johnson
Prosecutors won’t seek death penalty for 2 men accused of killing Ogden teen last February
Police: Teenager shot, killed in Ogden was Ben Lomond High student
Police locate man wanted in fatal Ogden shooting; still seeking another
Two in custody following homicide in Ogden
One charged with aggravated murder, another arrested in shooting of brothers
Man killed, brother critically injured in Ogden shooting
Ogden brothers shot — one fatally — in alleged robbery of prescription drugs, cash and two pieces of clothing
Mother: Shooting of my sons was ‘about money’
Family say Ogden brothers shot, one killed, over a girl
Alleged gunman in killing of Ogden man charged
Alleged gunman in killing of Ogden man charged
Farmington man charged with aggravated murder in shooting death of Ogden teen

Theron Nelson Farmer –
Daniel Ross Viegas-Gonzalez –



Cold Case: Richard Rios Jr. killed LeRoy Ortiz, a Golden Glove boxer by shooting him and throwing him in a river; Rios died in 1995

Leroy Ortiz

Find-A-Grave: LeRoy Celestino Ortiz
Body found in racks at dam; Foul play suspected
Youth’s body found in Weber canal
Police lack solid clue in murder
The Justice Files: 1969 Cold case murder solved
The Justice Files: ‘Bad blood’ a motive in 1969 cold case murder
The Justice Files: Killer taunted victim’s family after 1969 murder
Justice for LeRoy Ortiz – Murdered March 1969

Psycho For Love: Steven Vargas killed his wife, Rebecca; Convicted, sentenced to 5 years to life; Up for parole now

From Vargas’ appeal: In January 1994, Steven and Rebecca Vargas married each other for the second time.   Less than a month into the second marriage, Vargas was eating lunch at an Ogden restaurant with his aunt, Vicki Pubela.   Pubela noted her pleasure at seeing the couple back together and asked him what he would do if his marriage failed again.   Vargas told her he “would kill Rebecca first.”   Pubela then replied that he did not really mean that, to which he responded, “Oh, yes, I do.”

Similarly, about eight months later, the Vargases had a fight at the North East Flagging Company, where the couple worked.   Immediately afterward, Steven Vargas told several witnesses, “If she ever leaves me again, I’ll kill her.”   Finally, in October of 1995, Steven Vargas and Gary Heward, a deputy Weber county attorney were discussing the O.J. Simpson murder trial, when Vargas stated, “If a black man can do that and get away with it, so can a Mexican.”

A month before Vargas’s conversation with Heward, Rebecca Vargas told Melinda McClain, Steven Vargas’s youngest sister, that she was considering leaving her husband.   Two months later, in November 1995, the couple told the Vargas family that they were divorcing.

On December 22, 1995, Robert Escobel, Steven Vargas’s half-brother, called Steven Vargas to arrange a visit.   During the conversation, “out of the blue,” Vargas asked Escobel if he would kill his wife:  “All you gotta do is, I’ll fly you down here, you can hit her over the head with a bat a couple of times.   She’s so small, she’ll die.   I’ll fly you right back.   You’ll be in and out in a few hours.”   Escobel refused, and his brother responded, “If you don’t do it, I’ve got something else in the works.”

Rebecca Vargas met with McClain three days later, on Christmas, at a local bowling alley and bar, Ben Lomond Lanes, for drinks.   The two were joined by Monty Vorwaller, a police officer whom Rebecca Vargas was dating.   Rebecca Vargas told McClain that in three days (December 28) she would be moving out of the trailer house in which she was then living with her husband and Mike Reid, his nephew, and into an apartment.

On December 27, Rebecca Vargas called Vorwaller and told him she was moving that day.   Around noon, Reid helped her load some cleaning supplies into her Jeep. She then drove to her new apartment, which was one of three apartments she and her husband maintained and managed.   After cleaning there for several hours, she returned to the trailer house, and Reid drove the Jeep to work.

After working until about 5:00 p.m. on that same day, Steven Vargas went to the Sand Trap, a private club, and then to Ben Lomond Lanes, where he talked with Garrett Bell and told him he was breaking up with his wife.   At about 6:15, Steven Vargas went home.   Before leaving, he told Bell he would be back at around 7:30 that evening to meet a woman;  however, he did not return.

At about 6:30 p.m., the Vargases and their two children ate dinner at a buffet restaurant in Ogden.   From this point until about 10:30 that evening, there are two versions of events.1  According to Steven Vargas, after eating dinner, the family went to a theater and watched the movie “Toy Story.”   At 9:00 p.m., they went to another restaurant to get drinks and returned home at about 9:30 p.m. At this time, Rebecca Vargas left to go check on her apartment.

However, the State contends that between 6:30 and 7:00 that evening, Steven Vargas’s nephew, Ryan Hawley, arrived at the trailer house to babysit the couple’s two children so that they could go out for the evening.2  Because Reid had driven the Jeep to work, the Vargases left in their other vehicle, an Oldsmobile.   At trial, the State theorized that sometime that evening between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., Steven Vargas attacked and seriously wounded his wife outside her new apartment, then left her for dead.   Afterward, he returned to the trailer house alone, arriving at about 10:00 p.m. He told Hawley that his wife had gone to make some minor repairs at her apartment.   Hawley left shortly afterward.

Both sides agree that at about 10:30 p.m., Steven Vargas telephoned Melinda McClain, asking if Rebecca Vargas was with her.   On learning that she was not there, Vargas asked McClain to check on her at the apartment, explaining he was unable to do so himself because Reid had taken the Jeep to work and his wife had taken the Oldsmobile to the apartment.   McClain agreed to go to the apartment.

At about 11:00 p.m., Melinda McClain and her husband David arrived at the Vargases’ trailer house.   Reid had just returned with the Jeep, as well.   The McClains told Steven Vargas that they had driven by the apartment and had seen the Oldsmobile parked out front. After talking for about forty-five minutes, the McClains prepared to leave, telling Steven Vargas they would drive by Ben Lomond Lanes to see if Rebecca Vargas had gone there, and, if they did not see her car there, they would again drive by the apartment.

Not finding the Oldsmobile at the bowling alley, Melinda and David McClain returned to the apartment.   They parked behind the Oldsmobile, which was still there, and knocked on the apartment door. When nobody answered, Melinda McClain began to walk around the building.   Before getting all the way around the building, however, she heard moaning.   She brought her husband to the northeast corner of the porch to listen.   In addition to the moaning, they also heard a low, calm, indiscernible, masculine voice.3  Melinda McClain also thought she saw somebody crouched over in the bushes;  however, her husband believed she was simply imagining things.   Based on what they heard, the McClains concluded Rebecca Vargas was having sexual relations with someone.   It was now about 12:30 a.m. The McClains left, went to a nearby convenience store, and called Steven Vargas, telling him his wife was at the apartment and “it sounded like she was having sex with someone.”   Vargas told them to “let her have her fun” and go home.

Instead of going home, the McClains returned to the apartment for the third time that night.   This time they heard nothing.   They went to Ben Lomond Lanes and then returned, once more, to the apartment.   It was now about 1:00 a.m. As the McClains approached the apartment, they discovered the Vargases’ Jeep parked next to the Oldsmobile.   They drove to an adjacent street and waited. Shortly afterward, Steven Vargas walked out from the east side of the apartment building wearing his robe and shaking his head.   As he approached the Jeep, he ducked down and appeared to wipe something off himself.   The McClains drove away without confronting him, but he saw the couple stopped at a nearby intersection.   Vargas pulled over in the Jeep, and the McClains got out of their car to speak with him.   He stated that he did not want his wife to think he was spying on her and asked them to not “tell anybody I was here.”   As they parted, he reiterated, “Don’t tell anybody I was here, and whatever happens, don’t tell anybody I was here.”   The McClains again returned to the apartment, for the fifth time that night, but heard nothing and went home.

At about 6:00 that morning, Vargas called the McClains and once more asked them to check on his wife.   Melinda McClain told him to call the police and ask them to go to the apartment.   He did so, but the police refused to send anyone over because Vargas said he had no reason to believe Rebecca was in danger.   He again called the McClains and they went to the apartment.

Melinda McClain knocked on the door and, after getting no response, entered the apartment.   She did not find Rebecca Vargas inside.   She then began searching outside the building.   As she came around the east side of the building, she found Rebecca Vargas’s body lying on the ground.   Rebecca Vargas was lying on her back.   Her sweatshirt and bra had both been pulled up to her chin, exposing her chest and abdomen.   The temperature that morning was about 20 degrees, and Rebecca Vargas’s hair, face, and clothes were covered with frozen blood.   There was a pool of blood by her head and a larger pool at her feet.   Nearby was a battery-operated lantern, a set of keys, and a cigarette lighter.   The lantern was covered in her blood and a clump of her hair.   Later investigation revealed that Steven Vargas owned a similar lantern;  however, it could not be found at his trailer house after the murder.   Steven Vargas’s fingerprints were identified on the lantern’s battery.

Rebecca Vargas died from repeated blows to the top of her head, which extensively fractured her skull and resulted in swelling of the brain and loss of blood, as well as hypothermia.   Some of the blows were inflicted while she was either standing or sitting upright.   These injuries were located toward the back half of the top of the skull, and the weapon that inflicted these injuries was not found.   The more serious injuries, however, were located toward the front of the skull and were inflicted while she was lying on the ground or pressed against a stationary object, such as a wall.   Dr. Maureen Frikke, a forensic pathologist and the State’s expert witness, testified that these injuries could have come from the lantern found at the scene.   Dr. Frikke could not determine whether the injuries were all inflicted in one attack or in two separate attacks, as the State contended at trial.4

Dr. Frikke concluded that Rebecca Vargas likely survived for several hours after the initial attack and was lying on her stomach for some time.   She was discovered lying on her back, however, and the pool of blood at her feet was several feet away from any of her injuries at the time she was discovered.   Thus, someone had moved her body after the initial attack but before Melinda McClain discovered it.   Again, at trial, the State contended that this occurred when Vargas returned to the scene of the crime at about 1:00 a.m. Additionally, Dr. Frikke found that some of the injuries to Rebecca Vargas’s face occurred after her death.

Shortly after the discovery of the body, the McClains went to the Ogden police station.   At about 8:30 that same morning, Steven Vargas also went to the police station, explaining that he was there to pay traffic tickets and fees for expired license tags for the McClains.   Upon Vargas’s arrival, Officer Scott McGregor told him that he needed to talk to him.   Vargas agreed to answer questions, but was not informed of his wife’s death.

For six hours, the police intermittently, but extensively, questioned him about his whereabouts the previous night and his relationship with Rebecca Vargas.   He never asked about his wife or why he was being questioned, although he was read his rights and asked how to contact Rebecca’s family.   Vargas confirmed that he had driven by the apartment the previous night, but asserted that he had remained in his car and not stopped.   Later, however, he stated that he did get out of the car and went around to the east side of the building.

A subsequent search of the trailer house and Jeep revealed that the clothes Steven Vargas wore to the apartment the night before had been cleaned.   Additionally, in the Jeep, police noted that the driver’s side floor mat was “unusually free of leaves and cleaner than the rest of the jeep’s floor areas, including the other floor mats.”   Nevertheless, the police found leaf fragments under the driver’s side floor mat.   On one of the fragments, they found blood that matched Rebecca’s DNA.

Steven Vargas was later arrested and held in the county jail.   While there, two inmates alleged that he confessed to the killing.   Don Baize was in jail on a charge of attempted murder.   Following a conversation with Vargas, Baize asked his probation officer to talk to prosecutors about a plea bargain in exchange for information.   The State agreed, and Baize gave a statement that Vargas had told him, “I knew Becky was going to leave, she was seeing someone else, it drove me crazy, and that is why I killed the f* * *ing bitch, I beat the f* * * out of the bitch.”   The other inmate, Jeff Combe, was a previous acquaintance of Vargas’s and was in jail on forgery charges.   According to Combe, Vargas confessed the killing to him to “get it off his chest.”   He allegedly told Combe that “I won’t put up with her leaving me for a cop [i.e., Vorwaller].   I warned her if you ever leave me again I will kill you.”

A jury convicted Vargas of murder, and he appeals.

Ogden man arrested in wife’s bludgeoning death
Vargas found guilty of 1st-degree murder in December 1995 beating death of wife
Man seeking parole in wife’s death says he killed her
Man gets 5-to-life term for killing his wife a year ago
Stephen Vargas admits to killing wife years after her beating death in 1995
Next parole hearing for Ogden killer Stephen Vargas set for 2026
State of Utah v Stephen 2001 (conviction and sentence affirmed)

American Monster: Backyard Daddy


Offender Number: 121479
DOB: Tue, 6 Sep 1955
Height: 5 Feet 9 Inches
Weight: 230
Sex: M
Housing Facility: WASATCH
Parole Hearing:

Scott Holbrook murder 6/8/1994 Ogden, UT *Business partner, Joseph Monte Favero pled guilty, sentenced to 5 years to life in prison*

remembering the victims

West Haven man shot dead at Ogden lawn-care business
Ogden man to stand trial in killing of former partner
Ogden man changes his plea to guilty and insane in killing
Friend gets 5 years to life for killing father of 8
Slain man’s sister shocked to find his killer is still in mental hospital
‘We are as shocked today as we were then’: Family of man slain 24 years ago asks for full life sentence


Offender Number: 83904
Offender Name: J MONTI FAVERO
DOB: Mon, 15 Dec 1947
Height: Feet 0 Inches
Sex: M
Housing Facility: CUCF HENRY
Parole Date: N/A
Next Parole Hearing: 06/01/2018

Psycho For Love: Ba Quang Tran killed his estranged wife, Kim Lein Thi Vo; Sentenced to 5 years in prison

dv awareness

Grim Tally: Weber County (at the bottom)
Viet immigrant guilty of slaying girlfriend


Offender Number: 126298
Offender Name: BA QUANG TRAN
DOB: Wed, 10 Oct 1973
Height: 5 Feet 4 Inches
Weight: 135
Sex: M
Housing Facility: WASATCH
Parole Date: N/A
Parole Hearing: 1/1/2027

Update: Kenzie Rose LaBuy murder *Adam Joseph Barney pled guilty; Sentencing will be May 13, 2015*

Say NO to Child Abuse

Kenzie Rose
Kenzie Rose LaBuy

Boyfriends From Hell: Adam Joseph Barney arrested for the death of his girlfriend’s 14-month-old daughter, Kenzie Rose LaBuy
Kenzie Rose La Buy obituary
Justice for Kenzie Rose
Slain Ogden toddler’s father speaks out
Lawyer: Man accused in toddler’s death will take plea deal
Ogden man charged with toddler’s death pleads guilty
Guilty plea entered in toddler death case
Utah man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend’s baby daughter

Adam Joseph Barney
Adam Joseph Barney

Psycho For Love: Victoria Mendoza killed her partner, Tawnee Marie Baird, stabbing her 46 times; Plead guilty, sentenced to 16 years to life in prison

DV 2014

Tawnee Baird

Facebook: Tawnee Baird
Tawnee Marie Baird obituary
Woman accused of stabbing partner to death in Ogden
Woman arrested in fatal stabbing of 21-year old domestic partner
Woman stabbed to death in Ogden, partner arrested
Father of slain woman said he lived his life through his daughter
Police identify woman stabbed to death in Ogden; victim’s domestic partner in custody
Stabbing victim in Ogden homicide identified as 21-year-old woman
Family, friends speak after woman stabbed to death in Ogden parking lot
Dad learns daughter was stabbed 46 times; bail set at $100K
Ogden homicide suspect granted bail; victim stabbed 46 times
Holladay woman gets at least 16 years in girlfriend’s stabbing
Utah woman sentenced to prison for girlfriend’s stabbing death
Family, friends speak after woman stabbed to death in Ogden parking lot
Mendoza pleads guilty: ‘You just don’t stab and kill someone’
Utah woman gets 16-years-to-life for stabbing girlfriend to death
Woman who killed girlfriend gets 2039 parole hearing

Deadly Women: Suspicious Minds
Web of Lies: Fatal Facade


Victoria Mendoza

Offender Number: 225319
DOB: Fri, 2 Oct 1992
Height: 5 Feet 7 Inches
Weight: 130
Sex: F
Housing Facility: TIMPANOGOS
Parole Date: N/A
Parole Hearing: 10/01/2039

Update: Filiberto Bedolla Robles murder *Robert Lee McCullar was convicted, however, his conviction has been overturned*

2560 Adams Ave
2560 Adams Ave Ogden Utah

Filiberto Bedolla Robles murder 12/22/2009 Ogden, UT *Robert Lee McCullar bound over for trial*
Ogden man convicted by jury in 2009 murder
Ogden man convicted by jury in 2009 murder
McCullar’s request for new murder trial for 2009 killing faces hearing
Overturned: Ogden man is granted retrial in 2011 murder case
Court reverses Ogden man’s 2011 murder conviction
Court reverses Utah man’s 2011 murder conviction

Robert Lee McCullar
Robert Lee McCullar

%d bloggers like this: