Salt Lake City, Utah – A Utah man, Jayson Chase, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole on Friday for the aggravated murder of Angela Montoya, a woman he had never met before. In addition to the aggravated murder charge, Chase was also charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder, obstructing justice, and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. All charges were found to be true by the jury, who deliberated for two and a half hours before delivering the verdict. Judge Todd M. Shaughnessy characterized the murder as a “cold-blooded, execution-style murder” of an innocent young woman, who had done nothing wrong, apart from sitting next to Chase in the car. The incident took place in July 2019, in the West Valley area of Utah.
According to charging documents, Chase became angry in the back seat of the car, with four other occupants, and started shooting, resulting in Montoya’s death. A 15-year-old boy and Chase fled the scene, while Montoya’s body was discovered in the vehicle with a gunshot wound to her head. The teen had a gunshot wound to his shoulder, and the driver, a woman, had a gunshot wound to her shoulder and neck. During sentencing, Montoya’s family members spoke about the loss of their daughter, sister, and friend, as well as the three boys growing up without their mother. Chase did not make any statements during the proceedings.
Chase has a long history of criminal activity, and the prosecutor, Brian Williams, stated that he has only been crime-free while incarcerated. During the trial, Chase tried to blame the 15-year-old for the shooting, despite evidence that indicated otherwise. The medical examiner testified that Montoya had contact wounds from the gun, indicating that Chase had put the gun against her temple. Shaughnessy acknowledged that Chase’s background, such as his alcoholic father and incarcerated mother, might have contributed to his behavior. However, the judge stated that Chase had shown little to no remorse and that drug use could not explain his actions.