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For week ended December 19, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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LDS 'Straight Edger' Gets 5 to Life (Straight Edgers Sentenced)

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS 'Straight Edger' Gets 5 to Life (Straight Edgers Sentenced)
Salt Lake Tribune 16Dec99 D2
By Stephen Hunt: Salt Lake Tribune

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Straight Edge gang member and Mormon Colin Reesor, 18, was sentenced to 5 years to life in prison for the murder of 14-year-old Latino Bernardo Repreza during a street brawl on October 31, 1998. Co-defendant Andrew Moench, 19, was given a 6 to 15 year sentence for his part in the fight and ensuing attack on Repreza.The trial of a final defendant, the fourth, begins on Tuesday.

The fight began when a Straight Edge gang member spit on a Repreza's friend, 20-year-old Jaynell Cooper, touching off combat between gang members and Repreza's group of friends. At least in Salt Lake City, the Straight Edgers have been known to use violence to force their views on others. The gang eschews alcohol, drugs and promiscuous sex, as well as many times espousing vegan (strict vegetarian) ideas and animal rights.

After the combatants chased each other back and forth across a street, Moench and another gang member chased Repreza into a plaza, where Moench hit him at least twice with a baseball bat. Reesor then stabbed the boy.

In the sentencing hearing, held after Reesor plead guilty to first-degree felony murder, prosecutor Paul Parker told the Judge that Reesor deserved prison for the act, "It was a cold, calculated, malicious act, He stabbed him so hard, it hit his backbone. The nature of the blow deserves prison, not to mention his association with a violent gang." The judge apparently agreed, giving Reesor the maximum sentence.

Even Reesor's parents, LDS Church members Susan and Craig Reesor, had been uncomfortable with the gang, urging Colin to drop his ties to the gang. Susan Reesor said she told her son that the gang's ideas were too extreme, and that the LDS Church already teaches against drugs and premarital sex.

She also said she admired the Repreza family for keeping the trial and their son's name before the media. Susan Reesor said she hopes the publicity will keep other teens from crime.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information