Logan man given maximum sentence for shooting and killing co-worker

Lorenzo Tena-Vasquez booking photo from the Cache County Jail.

LOGAN — A 61-year-old Logan man has been sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison for shooting and killing a co-worker at a Millville construction site two years ago. Lorenzo Tena-Vasquez was given the maximum sentence under Utah law after briefly telling the court he was sorry.

Tena-Vasquez was sentenced Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 11, in Logan’s 1st District Court. He previously accepted a plea deal during a July trial, pleading guilty to murder, a first-degree felony; and discharge of a firearm, reduced to a second-degree felony.

Tena-Vasquez shot and killed Arellano Nieto Yovani, a 29-year-old man, at a Millville home construction site on Aug. 12, 2021. He surrendered to Cache County Sheriff’s deputies nearby, still with blood on his clothing and admitting he had shot the man. A handgun and shotgun was later located inside his truck.

Inside the home, investigators found Yovani deceased, lying in a pool of blood from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest. There were also multiple shell casings and bullet fragments found throughout the basement room.

Tena-Vasquez told deputies that he and Yovani were co-workers and had been in a confrontation earlier that morning in which the victim had threatened him. He said that after the fight he left the job site and went back to his home, fearful for his family.

During the trial, Tena-Vasquez testified through a Spanish interpreter that he was scared and angry about having been threatened. He took a handgun and returned to the construction site, finding Yovani in a basement room and shooting him.

Tena-Vasquez claimed he killed the victim in self-defense because Yovani had threatened him with a knife and said he was a member of a Mexican cartel. He explained that rather than waiting for Yovani to come to his house and possibly harm him, he shot him.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, Yovani’s sister tearfully described how her family’s lives had been shattered. She explained how her brother loved his wife and three young children. She said he also had a passion for music, cooking, and being in the outdoors.

Prosecutors displayed a slideshow of Yovani as the victim’s family spoke. Yovani’s sister called the defendant selfish and a coward, asking the court to hold him 100 percent accountable.

Cache County Attorney Dane Murray said he didn’t believe Tena-Vasquez was remorseful for killing the victim in cold blood. He described the case as being a tragedy for everyone involved.

Judge Brian Cannell said Tena-Vasquez’s actions were heinous and despicable on every level. He noted the defendant’s excuse about defending himself was “unbelievable and made no sense.” He sentenced the defendant to a term of 15-years-to-life at the Utah Correctional Facility, and said he hoped the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole would keep him incarcerated for longer than the minimum amount and closer to life.

“Yovani’s life was precious,” said Judge Cannell. “I hope to never see a case like this again.

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