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Who came to a drug buy one February night with the intent to rob the other party was much-discussed Wednesday during a preliminary hearing for a man accused of shooting and killing two men and a teenage boy inside an SUV.
Gerald Grant met with the trio with the plan to take their money and not hand over the marijuana promised, his girlfriend testified.
But a friend of the slain men 20-year-old Angel Lopez-Salinas; his 19-year-old brother, Lauro Raul Lopez-Salinas; and 17-year-old Armando Cuenca-Curiel testified that they, too, had gone to the meet-up intending to rob the man who they were supposed to buy drugs from.
In the end, 20-year-old Grant left the SUV with a gunshot wound to the leg. Cuenca-Curiel was shot in the side, and died in the SUV parked in the road at 325 E. Park Creeke Lane (3060 South). The two brothers were each shot in the head, and died later at a local hospital.
Grant is now facing three counts of first-degree felony aggravated murder and a charge of second-degree felony obstruction of justice. Third District Judge James Blanch will decide on Thursday, after hearing four days of testimony, whether there is probable cause for Grant to go to trial on the charges.
Grant's girlfriend, 18-year-old Brooklyn Paget, testified Wednesday that she met her boyfriend and two men at a McDonald's in Salt Lake County on Feb. 18 after he called her and told her he had been shot and that he had shot someone.
A she drove to a local hospital, Grant said the meet-up was a "lick" that turned into a shooting. A lick, Paget testified, usually meant robbing someone during a drug buy, but could also mean just purchasing drugs.
"[He said] they started beating up on him and he got shot in the leg," Paget testified. "And he shot a guy in the side and he shot the other two."
A second man, Mahad Abdirashid Omar, is also charged as an accomplice in the three deaths. The 21-year-old was originally charged in June with obstructing justice for allegedly aiding Grant and for not reporting what he knew about the shootings. On Friday based on recently acquired text messages between Omar and Grant prosecutors amended the charges against Omar, adding three counts of murder and one count of aggravated robbery.
Charging documents allege that Grant had texted Omar earlier on Feb. 18, saying he had robbed a man for a few hundred dollars the night before and asking Omar to set up another "plan." Omar allegedly set up the exchange with a contact and then texted Grant to tell him to bring a gun.
Isaac Gbaway drove Grant and Omar to a strip mall, where Grant got into an SUV with the contact, according to the charges. Gbaway and Omar intended to follow the SUV but lost sight of it, the charges say. They picked him up near on Park Creeke Lane after Grant called and said he had been shot. Another friend gave Grant and Omar a ride to the restaurant where Paget picked them up, according to testimony.