The events leading up to the murder of a Salt Lake City-area real estate agent keep coming into focus and sound even more tragic with each passing day.
According to charges, Manuel Velasquez (pictured, above) gunned down 40-year-old real estate agent and landlord David Stokoe in cold blood as the agent attempted to collect rent on one of his properties.
According to KSL, which is following developments closely, police allege Velasquez shot Stokoe multiple times in the back and then stuffed his lifeless body into a hidden crawlspace inside the rental property.
How it got to that point is the saddest part.
Stokoe owned the property he was killed in; at the time he was renting it to Jessica Miller, 38, who has also been identified as Jessica Reese, in police records. Stokoe agreed to let Miller move in as he felt bad for the tenant.
“Dave, being Dave, had been the nice guy and really tried to help, and then started to feel like he was getting taken advantage of,” said Britt Sharp, president of Ranlife Real Estate, where Stokoe worked as an agent.
“I think she had come on some hard times and had kind of given him a story of distress,” Sharp said, “and Dave, just being the kind of guy he was, tried to accommodate her.”
But there were problems with the rent not being paid, so Stokoe moved to evict and that’s when Velasquez allegedly shot the real estate agent several times in the back.
According to KSL’s Pat Reavy, Velasquez was no stranger to the penal system.
“In 2010, Velasquez was charged with attempted murder. But the case was dismissed right before it was scheduled to go to trial because the state's witnesses disappeared, according to court documents,” writes Reavy.
That's just one incident. Velasquez was also recently charged with shooting in the direction of another person just last month, showing that he has a history of gun violence. His bail is now set above $1 million, and let's hope, if these charges stick, he will be off the streets for good.