42-year-old man convicted in connection to 2008 Huntsville murder case

Wednesday , November 15, 2017 - 5:16 PM1 comment

JACOB SCHOLL, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — A Huntsville murder case from 2008 reached its resolution Tuesday in an Ogden 2nd District courtroom. 

Gutberto Heras-Corrales, 42, was found guilty of first-degree felony murder in the nearly decade-old death of his girlfriend, Noemi Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s body was found on Dec. 26, 2008, near Huntsville Cemetery by a snowplow driver. 

A jury deliberated for about four hours before handing down the verdict. 

According to Dee Smith, deputy Weber County attorney, Heras-Corrales — who was in the United States illegally at the time of the murder — fled to Mexico within 24 hours of Rodriguez’s body being discovered.

Heras-Corrales was extradited back to the U.S. in July 2015 after negotiations with the Mexican government. 

Smith said critical pieces of evidence were central to the conviction.

He said between Dec. 1 and Dec. 25, 2008, Heras-Corrales placed more than 700 phone calls to Rodriguez. Using cell phone records, investigators were able to track the location of both Heras-Corrales and Rodriguez on Dec. 25, the day Rodriguez went missing. 

Investigators tracked both phones to Huntsville, then tracked Heras-Corrales’ phone to the Arizona-Mexico border within 24 hours of the discovery of Rodriguez’s body, Smith said. 

Smith cited incidents prior to Rodriguez’s death as warning signs of Heras-Corrales’ behavior.

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One of the incidents Smith talked about was when Heras-Corrales went to Rodriguez’s home and “cut up” her clothes. 

The main point Smith cited, however, was the fire that destroyed Rodriguez’s Layton home just days before she went missing. Heras-Corrales is also facing charges in Davis County for aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, in connection with the fire. 

Smith, who was the Weber County Attorney in 2009 when he filed the charges against Heras-Corrales, said the resolution of this case was very rewarding. He said he’s happy that Rodriguez’s family has some sort of closure regarding the death of their loved one. Members of the family were present at every day of the trial, Smith said. 

The county will not be pursuing capital charges against Heras-Corrales, Smith said, as that was a stipulation put in place by the Mexican government during negotiations for Heras-Corrales’ extradition. 

Lt. Nate Hutchinson with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said this verdict has been nine years in the making, and he’s proud of the work detectives put in to make the conviction possible. 

Heras-Corrales’ Salt Lake City-based attorneys, Cara Tangaro and Scott Williams, did not respond to calls for comment as of Wednesday evening. 

The sentencing hearing for Heras-Corrales is tentatively set for Jan. 17, 2018 in Ogden. 

Contact reporter Jacob Scholl at jscholl@standard.net or follow him on Twitter @Jacob_Scholl.

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