A Sanpete County man has been sentenced for the shooting death of a relative and a subsequent assault by a prisoner.
Michael Janerro Hartnell, 33, was sentenced by Judge Marvin Bagley to 1-5 years in the Utah State Prison on a manslaughter charge and 0-5 years for a charge of assault by a prisoner. Both sentences were set to run concurrently.
The charges were due to Hartnell’s admitted killing of his stepfather, Josheph Vallejos, 73, and for an altercation he was involved with in jail after his incarceration.
The shooting took place on June 20, 2020, and in court, Hartnell claimed the crime was due to a mental health breakdown he was experiencing at the time.
On the date of the shooting, Sanpete County dispatch took a call from an individual who identified himself as Hartnell, saying he had shot and killed another person and needed emergency response.
According to the authorities, the phone number Hartnell used to call 911 was registered to Vallejos, and deputies were dispatched to his Cobble Ridge Road residence in the Hideaway Valley area. Hartnell was waiting for them when they arrived.
Hartnell was taken into custody, booked into the Sanpete County Jail and initially charged with first-degree felony murder. Due to authorities determining that there was a contributing factor of mental illness with the shooting, the charge was reduced to second-degree felony manslaughter.
During the investigation, Hartnell told investigators that he took a 9mm handgun from Vallejos’ vehicle and kept it for several weeks until one day he decided to use the pistol, shooting Vallejos in his living room.
While in custody for the killing of Vallejos, Hartnell was involved in a fight at the Sanpete County Jail and pleaded guilty to third-degree felony assault by prisoner.
Hartnell commented during the sentencing hearing that his mental health issues were improving, and he hoped to make restitution to the Vallejos family in some way.