The Utah Attorney General’s Office will fight to keep a gang member in prison for the rest of his life for murdering two people and wounding two others during a drive-by shooting at a wedding party. Riqo M. Perea is asking the Utah Supreme Court to overturn his convictions and sentences for two counts each of aggravated murder and attempted murder.
On August 5, 2007, Perea climbed out of an SUV passenger window and fired ten shots at a wedding party attended by rival gang members in Ogden. Perea killed two people and seriously wounded two others. He also threatened the other passengers that “there would be a bullet with (their) name on it” if they said anything.
Perea later waived his Miranda rights and gave a full confession to police. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced on May 27, 2010 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Assistant Attorney General Christopher Ballard will argue against several claims made in Perea’s appeal, including:
• The trial judge erred in letting jurors hear Perea’s confession.
• The judge was wrong to keep out a defense expert on false confessions and an animated video depicting two other shooters.
• The life without parole statute is unconstitutional even though the judge determined the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances.
The Utah Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the appeal at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 6 at the Matheson Courthouse, 450 S. State, Salt Lake City.
Paul Murphy, Utah Attorney General’s Office: