Back in January of 2019, David Thomas Stokoe, a 40-year-old real-estate agent from Salt Lake City, Utah, was brutally murdered in the home he had rented out. As a father of four, David was quite successful, but when he decided to evict his tenants because of their failure to pay rent or follow any of the other terms of their agreement, he ignited a rage in them that resulted in him losing his life. In the end, Manuel Velasquez, Jessica Reese, and Diana Hernandez were charged and arrested in connection with David’s slaying. And, we bet, that like us, you’re curious to know where they are now, right? So, here’s what we found.
Who Are Manuel Velasquez, Jessica Reese, and Diana Hernandez?
After David’s body was discovered a day after he went missing (on January 17), in a semi-hidden crawl space in the apartment that he owned and rented out near 900 East and Princeton Avenue, Salt Lake City, the investigators’ attention shifted towards finding the tenants who David wanted to evict. With that, bright and early on January 20, they found and arrested Manuel Velasquez, Jessica Reese, and Diana Hernandez. Manuel and Jessica, who also sometimes used the last name Miller, were the ones who were renting David’s apartment. They settled into that place in December of the previous year but soon started having problems with their landlord.
David felt that he was being taken advantage of as he wasn’t being paid the rent on time, and he felt as if more people were living there than agreed upon. The tenants, on the other hand, believed that David was overstepping his boundaries by entering the property whenever he felt like it. Soon, David told Manuel and Jessica that they needed to leave before 6 p.m. on January 17. And, after the trio was arrested, they said that when David arrived at the property that day, he kicked down the front door, started shouting, and after an argument, put Manuel in a chokehold. Manuel, restrained but fighting still, reached for his handgun and shot David a total of 4 times.
Then, as David died, Manuel and Jessica, with the help of their friend Diana Hernandez, unsuccessfully attempted to clean up the blood from the floors, before hiding his body in the secret passage and leaving for good. After the interrogation and confessions, all three of them were officially charged in connection with the case. Manuel was indicted of first-degree murder, two counts of firing a gun and causing serious injury, obstruction of justice, and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. Jessica was charged with obstruction of justice, identity fraud, forgery, and abuse or desecration of a human body. And Diana was indicted of one count of obstruction of justice.
Where Are Manuel Velasquez, Jessica Reese, and Diana Hernandez Today?
As per the last reports, Diana Hernandez has been convicted and is currently behind bars for her involvement in the case. Jessica Reese/Miller, on the other hand, is in holding at the Salt Lake County Jail for the charges against her until her case goes to court. According to state records, she was booked on August 20, 2019, and her bond was set at $250,000, which has not yet been posted – meaning she is still incarcerated. Coming to Manuel, the man who actually gunned down David Stokoe in cold blood, even he is in holding for the charges against him until his court hearing.
But, we should tell you that Manuel is no stranger to the penal system. Back in 2010, he was charged with attempted murder, but the case was dismissed before it even went to trial because the state’s witnesses disappeared. This time, though, with his history of gun violence taken into consideration, and his harsh actions and confession, his bond is set at well over $1 million. If these charges stick, Manuel Velasquez will be off the streets for good.
Read More: How Did David Stokoe Die?