A Salt Lake City jury on Thursday acquitted a man accused of kidnapping the wife and children of a murder suspect last year.
Victor Manuel Sanchez, 41, was acquitted on three first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping charges at the end of a three-day trial in 3rd District Court before Judge Ann Boyden.
Sanchez was charged in connection with kidnapping Rosalinda Oquita and her two children, ages 2 and 3, on April 6, 2010. Oquita reported that Sanchez took her and brought her to an apartment where her husband, Delfino Arriaga-Luna, was hiding from police. Authorities were searching for Arriaga-Luna as a suspect in the slaying of Stephanie Williams, 19.
Prosecutors argued that Sanchez tried to use Oquita as a pawn to get Arriaga-Luna to turn himself in to police for the murder. Sanchez went to Oquita's house and told her to bring Sanchez to where Arriaga-Luna was hiding. The woman did so, but later told police that Sanchez had kidnapped her, according to court testimony.
Arriaga-Luna confessed to police that he shot Williams over a $200 drug debt on Easter Sunday in 2010. His trial in the murder case is pending.
During Sanchez's trial, his attorney, Fred Metos, argued that Oquita lied to police about what happened with Sanchez. Metos argued that Oquita was willing to help Sanchez find her husband because she was angry that her husband had cheated on her with other women.
Metos also pointed out that Oquita is in jail awaiting trial on felony charges connected to drugs and theft and suggested she was lying about her encounter with Sanchez last year.
Jurors acquitted Sanchez about 6 p.m. Thursday after deliberating for most of the day.