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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Murder trial begins for third suspect in Bret Snow disappearance

UPDATED: Mon., June 17, 2019

Alvaro Guajardo, 54, shown here in the middle, talks to his lawyer, Brian Raymon, after attorneys delivered opening arguments in the murder trial against Guajardo. He is the third of four suspects charged with what investigators believe was the beating and dismembering of Bret R. Snow, who was 32 when he was last seen alive on Dec. 2, 2015. Cheryl L. Sutton and Colby D. Vodder have already been convicted as part of the same investigation. (THOMAS CLOUSE / SR)
Alvaro Guajardo, 54, shown here in the middle, talks to his lawyer, Brian Raymon, after attorneys delivered opening arguments in the murder trial against Guajardo. He is the third of four suspects charged with what investigators believe was the beating and dismembering of Bret R. Snow, who was 32 when he was last seen alive on Dec. 2, 2015. Cheryl L. Sutton and Colby D. Vodder have already been convicted as part of the same investigation. (THOMAS CLOUSE / SR)

Attorneys delivered opening statements Monday in the trial of the third of four suspects charged with killing a man over an alleged botched drug deal in 2015.

Even though detectives have never found the remains of Bret R. Snow, who was 32 in 2015 when he was last seen on Dec. 2, detectives believe he fell victim to a fatal attack and dismemberment. Already convicted of murder in the case are Cheryl L. Sutton, 39, and Colby D. Vodder, 29.

Vodder was convicted of murder following his second trial and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 10. Sutton was convicted in March and received a 31-year sentence.

On Monday, attorneys began the murder case for 54-year-old Alvaro Guajardo, who attorneys previously described as an enforcer for the drug operation run by Sutton and Kenneth L. Stone, 35, who has yet to stand trial.

Witnesses testified at Sutton’s trial that Vodder and Guajardo admitted to killing Snow and hiding his body after Snow botched a drug deal in which Snow accepted a trade instead of cash. The deal angered Sutton and Stone, according to prosecutors, who claimed that the couple instructed Vodder and Guajardo to kill Snow.

After opening statements, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Dale Nagy called Spokane County Sheriff’s detective Lyle Johnston on Monday to explain how he began to investigate the disappearance of Snow.

Johnston told the jury about how he obtained DNA swabs from Snow’s siblings so that he could positively identify blood in a shop at 7822 N. Starr Road in the Newman Lake area.

Johnston testified that the last text that Snow’s cellphone received came in at 4:31 a.m. on Dec. 3, 2015. That was the last time anyone had contact with him.

Johnston extracted cellphone data and it showed that the last message sent to Snow put his phone in the same general area as the Staff Road shop where he is believed to have first been beaten and then dismembered.

That effort led detectives in 2017 to charge Sutton, Vodder, Guajardo and Stone.

The trial for Guajardo, who is being represented by attorneys Travis Jones and Brian Raymon, is expected to last into next week before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Raymond Clary.

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