OGDEN – Several witnesses said in a murder trial on Tuesday that they saw a man shot dead in a parking lot and saw the gunman jump into a car and flee, but none were subsequently able to identify the accused Keshaun Puente in a series of police photos.
Lawyers made opening arguments and testimony began in the trial of Puente, 24, who is charged with first degree murder and three counts of discharging a gun on June 13, 2018, 23-year-old Denero Lamar Snider died. Prosecutors said Puente shot Snider four times after an argument in a parking lot at a building in the 600 block of 23rd Street.
Colbie Bedford, an emergency medical technician from Ogden who worked that day for a logging company, testified that he and other workers were finishing their shift when two nearby men began to Argue. Bedford said he saw one of the men return to a car and get on the driver’s side of the car, then exited as Snider approached him.
“The driver got up and fired about six times,” Bedford said. After first taking cover, Bedford and others proceeded to Snider’s house, who was calling for help, after the car with the gunman and a woman inside escaped.
Bedford and another worker, Paul Pontius, testified that they took off their shirts to help prevent blood from flowing from Snider’s body. Bedford said he saw several gunshot wounds in Snider’s chest and exit wounds in his back. They started CPR and another tree feller called 911.
Three other tree workers gave similar testimony, although they were from different points of view and not all saw the actual shooting, or all of it. Most said they saw the shooter. When questioned by lawyers, the men said they were unable to identify the gunman in a police queue, but said they were certain the gunman had entered a Hyundai Veloster silver. Two people testified that they saw that the car had lost its front bumper.
Steven Gailey testified that he was walking into the parking lot to smoke a cigarette when he heard gunshots and looked up. He said he saw a man holding a gun with smoke billowing from the barrel, and a woman in the car was yelling at the shooter. Gailey said the gunman “was already in the vehicle when I heard the last shot.”
Prosecutors said two women and a teenager were in a passing car and saw part of the incident, then chased the car, obtaining a partial license plate number to give to police. An Ogden Police Detective read a transcript of an interview he conducted with the 15-year-old boy. “The guy ran to his car and started a few more shots,” the teenager said.
In opening argument, Weber County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Pedersen said the Hyundai was found a week later in North Las Vegas, Nevada. He said the woman who was in the car at the time of the shooting would testify that she saw Puente talking to Snider, she heard gunshots and Puente jumped into the car and said, “Let’s go” .
Puente was arrested six months later in the Las Vegas area.
Defense attorney Gage Crowther told the jury that the defense team would show that Puente “was not that person” who shot Snider. He said witnesses gave very different descriptions of the gunman’s approximate height, weight and clothing, and most were not very close to the shooting.