Nearly eight hours of often compelling testimony in the preliminary hearing of accused murderer Omar Guerro revealed Edgar Luna Najera was allegedly shot to death Oct. 28 over a large amount of possibly stolen methamphetamine following a night of terror inside an old singlewide manufactured home in a trailer court at 250 Walnut Lane.
The alleged murder of Guerro’s wife and children back in Mexico might also have played a role, according to testimony from eyewitnesses and Guerro’s two co-defendants – who claim they were essentially kidnapped at gunpoint following the shooting.
Jaime Solis and Jorge Hernandez, both 32 according to court records, who face felony obstruction of justice charges, testified against Guerro on Friday, Jan. 25. In exchange for that testimony, according to Deputy Emery County Attorney Brett Langston, who is prosecuting the case for Grand County, the charges, as well as a drug possession charge Hernandez also faces, would be dismissed once they repeat their testimony at Guerro’s trial, which has been scheduled for the week of March 11 after 7th District Judge Don Torgerson ruled Guerro, 33, would stand trial following the lengthy hearing. Guerro pleaded not guilty to murder and prohibited possessor of a firearm, a charge brought due to him allegedly being in the country illegally.
The men offered similar accounts of what happened Oct. 28 until they were captured in Arizona three days later. According to testimony, several people were in the trailer when the killing took place and all of them were in fear. Solis said through interpreters that Guerro’s demeanor was “normal” prior to the shooting and that he “never imagined what happened was going to happen,” but he also said Guerro “had some kind of vibe in him that he was feeling bad.”
Guerro bought a case of beer and arrived with Solis at Najera’s trailer. Guerro argued with Kevin Rodriguez, 19, and then turned his attention to Najera, 32, who everyone called Rojo due to his red hair. Everyone knew Guerro carried a semiautomatic pistol, said Solis, and Rojo wouldn’t stop crying. “At that point he (Guerro) pulled out the gun and shot him.”
The .40-caliber round went through the left part of his chest and his left arm. Guerro, said Solis, forced everyone to hand over their cell phones and would not let anyone leave. He called them “rats” and “scumbags,” and raged over between 1.5 and 2 pounds of methamphetamine that was missing – and that was packaged in the same material as drugs Rojo and Rodriguez allegedly had. Rojo reportedly argued he was only helping to sell the drugs and didn’t know where they came from.
Solis said everyone in the home had been smoking methamphetamine, except for him, a comment that prompted Guerro to laugh out loud while sitting at the defense table. Solis said Guerro told Rojo, who was writhing in pain, that if he told him the truth about the drugs he would “respect his life,” and “give him a second chance.” It was at this point, said Solis, that Guerro also said, “Tell me where my family is,” before placing the barrel of the pistol at Rojo’s head and pulling the trigger.
“There was nothing I could do,” said Solis.
Guerro, he said, turned his attention to Rodriguez, who ran to a back bedroom. Solis said he stood between Guerro and the bedroom door.
He said at that point Guerro pointed the gun at him and told him to get him out of there.
From there the men began a bizarre odyssey that took them to Green River, where they stayed at the home of Solis’ uncle who would later call police. From there they traveled to St. George, Hurricane, Page and, finally, Tuba City, Arizona, where they were captured following a 100-mile chase that Solis said ended with 20 law enforcement vehicles behind them.
At one point during the three-day ordeal, Guerro fired a shot through the windshield. At another, he traded drugs for another gun and cell phones at one Tuba City home. At another Tuba City residence, according to testimony, they picked up three children that Solis said were not Guerro’s because they were “native.” It is unclear who the children are and why anyone there would turn them over to the three men, but Solis said he was able to convince Guerro to return the children unharmed. “They were not his children,” he said.
Solis also said the men never slept for the three days they were on the run. Hernandez’s testimony was similar to that offered by Solis, as well as Rojo’s girlfriend, Breeanna Quinn.
Defense attorney Steve Russell voiced surprise over the plea deals offered to Solis and Hernandez. “I think it’s pretty astonishing given everything those guys did,” he said following Friday’s lengthy hearing. “They could easily bring eight or 10 charges in the felony range given all the things they did.”
Russell during the hearing questioned Solis on how he came to be in possession of about $3,500 – money he claimed Guerro took from him. Solis said the money came from paychecks he and his wife had earned and money taken out of the bank that was going to pay for a vehicle repair and an engine for a second automobile.
The trailer where the killing occurred was a known drug house where “everybody brought their own,” according to Quinn, who said she had just prepared a syringe and was going to take a “shot” of meth when she heard the first gunshot. She rushed to Rojo, who was “screaming and shaking.” After the second shot, which she said she heard fly by her head, Rojo went silent and she watched the life leave his eyes.