Parole board • Woman blames drugs and fear of boyfriend.
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A 27-year-old woman told the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole on Tuesday that she was high on drugs and too scared of her boyfriend to stop him from killing two people at a Roy trailer park last year.
Miranda "Mandy" Statler said she struggles to live with herself after standing by while Jeremy Valdes stabbed 30-year-old Matthew Roddy during an argument over stolen prescription drugs, then beat Roddy's 53-year-old mother, Pamela Knight Jeffries, before leaving her unconscious on the floor with a plastic bag tied around her head.
Statler helped her 33-year-old boyfriend stuff the victims' bodies into a closet and clean up a blood-spattered crime scene by wiping down a bedroom wall and watching him throw bloody sheets into a washing machine on Nov. 25, 2009.
"I question myself every day. What was I thinking? Why didn't I go to a neighbor? I don't know why," a tearful Statler told Utah Board of Pardons and Parole member Curtis Garner. "With Pamela, I could have saved her life."
Statler said she and Valdes had been sleeping on the floor of Roddy's bedroom for a week when Jeffries called police to say she suspected that her guests had stolen her legally obtained OxyContin and Valium.
On the day of the killings, Statler said Jeffries "physically attacked" her because of the missing prescription drugs. During the alleged attack, Valdes was in a bedroom arguing with Roddy, whom he stabbed 31 times with a butcher knife, according to an autopsy.
Valdes came out of the bedroom with the knife and kicked Jeffries in the head hard enough to knock her out, Statler said. Valdes and Statler then briefly left the home, but they returned and Valdes placed a trash bag over the woman's head, using duct tape.
The duo put the bodies in a closet and disposed of the knife in the Ogden River. Valdes tipped police off to the murders by calling to say he'd seen the bodies in the trailer an alleged attempt to steer police away from labeling him as a suspect.
Statler said Valdes ordered her not to say anything about the killings, threatening that she would go to prison for life for being an accomplice.
Statler pleaded guilty to second-degree felony obstruction of justice in March and was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Valdes is charged with two counts of aggravated murder and four other felonies. His case is pending in 2nd District Court.
Statler said she is receiving substance-abuse counseling and learning how to set boundaries in relationships.
She said she developed an OxyContin addiction after using painkillers for arthritis in her back. She met Valdes when the two worked together in Clearfield, and soon, the two abused drugs together, she said. Her actions caused her to lose custody of her now 11-year-old son, who lives with his father.
"I've hurt a lot of people, and I've very sorry," she told Garner.
Garner told Statler that her remorse seemed sincere, but the gravity of the crime will likely sway board members to set a longer sentence for her. A decision by the board on a parole date will be made in four to six weeks.
Jeffries' sister, Debra Owen, wrote in a letter to the parole board that she'd like Statler to pay for her crime but that she has also forgiven the woman.