Craig Craig resident Leroy Fief, 49, was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder and menacing with a deadly weapon in the stabbing death of Shane Arredondo in December 2012.
Fief originally was charged with first-degree murder, but the jury convicted him of the lesser charge. He will face sentencing on Dec. 10 and could get 16 to 48 years in prison for the murder charge and one to three years for the menacing charge.
Fief’s attorney, Jeremy Snow, said he was disappointed with the jury’s verdict.
“While disappointed in the outcome for obvious reasons, we’ve known this was a distinct possibility since we began,” he said.
But Snow said he couldn’t comment further about the case.
“Mr. Fief will be considering whether or not to exercise his rights to appeal. For that reason, we’re not commenting on this case or its outcome,” Snow said.
The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon and announced its verdict at about 2 p.m. Friday.
Fief was on trial for the stabbing death of Arredondo, who Fief suspected was having an affair with his wife, Mary Rose Fief.
The Moffat County trial lasted one and a half weeks with numerous witnesses being called to the stand to testify for the prosecution and defense.
Court testimony and evidence painted a picture of what happened the night that Arredondo died.
Fief, who had long suspected his wife was having an affair, sought her out when she didn’t return his calls the night of Dec. 8, 2012.
He lied to get out of work, went home, grabbed a 7-inch butcher knife and looked for her at Mathers’ Bar. When he didn’t find her there, he waited in the parking lot until he saw his wife exit the Elk Head Apartments with Arredondo.
It was then that he crossed the parking lot and began stabbing Arredondo. Forensic testimony suggested that the first wound proved to be fatal with the blade of the knife driven upward through the ribcage into the heart and lungs.
The prosecution argued that Fief’s actions demonstrated deliberation and intent — that his choice to leave work, the previous threats he had directed toward Arredondo via Facebook and the intensity of the wounds showed that Fief had planned to kill Arredondo and that he did it with intent.
The Moffat County District Attorney’s Office released a statement following the trial. District Attorney Brett Barkey said he thought justice was carried out with the jury’s decision.
“We greatly appreciate the service of the jurors and respect their decision in the case. Justice was done for Mr. Arredondo and his family,” he said.
Fief had a few moments to say goodbye to his family before he was escorted out of the courthouse. From across the court barrier, he hugged his son in a full embrace, and they both cried. He told his teenaged son to “be strong.” Then he hugged his mother and told her “thank you for everything.”
A pre-sentencing investigation will be conducted prior to Fief’s sentencing on Dec. 10, after which Fief will have a chance to file an appeal.
Fief will be held in Moffat County Jail until his sentencing.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.