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The Sanpete Messenger

Fairview man says “bad relationship” is why he shot his stepfather last week

                      Michael Hartnell

 

Fairview man says “bad relationship”

is why he shot his stepfather last week

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

6-11-2020

 

HIDEAWAY VALLEY—A Fairview man described the man he shot to death last week in Hideaway Valley as his stepfather.

Michael Hartnell, 32, of Fairview, told the police he decided kill Jospeh Vallejos, 73, because they had a “bad relationship.”

According to the police affidavit, after Hartnell shot and killed Vallejos at the victim’s residence on Monday, June 1, Hartnell took Valejos’ cellphone and car, drove to the fire station in Indianola and called 911.

“Hartnell stated he shot someone and he was calling to give himself up. No information was obtained from Hartnell at the time of where the alleged incident took place,” the police affidavit stated.

After Hartnell call to turn himself in, he returned to Vallejos’ residence to wait for the police to arrive.

According to court documents, the police used the cellphone number to trace the registered address in Hideaway Valley and went to respond to the call. Upon arrival, deputies found Vallejos dead in the living room of his home from a gunshot wound.

Hartnell was taken into custody and booked into the Sanpete County Jail, where he was later interviewed by sheriff’s detectives.

During the interview, Hartnell told police that he did not have a good relationship with Vallejos. Hartnell described Vallejos as a stepfather. Hartnell said that he stayed at the Hideaway Valley residence with Vallejos, but that Vallejos would come and go.

According to the affidavit, Hartnell told authorities that he took the murder weapon, a 9mm pistol, from Vallejos’ vehicle several weeks before. On Monday, June 1, Hartnell ran some errands and returned to the Hideaway Valley residence to find Vallejos, who was previously gone, to have returned home.

Hartnell told the police the he made the decision to “do it” at that time, loaded the pistol, walked inside the house and shot Vallejos in the head, after which the victim fell to the ground.

According to the affidavit, Hartnell also told investigators that he was mentally ill and suffered from schizophrenic episodes.

Hartnell was charged on Tuesday, June 1 in 6th District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, and possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony.