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Lake Shore man pleads guilty to murder of Spanish Fork man in 2022

By Carlene Coombs - | Jul 9, 2024

Courtesy Southern Utah University

Christian Taele

Two years later, a Lake Shore man, Christian Taele, has pleaded guilty to the murder of Ryan Hooley in Spanish Fork in 2022.

Court documents released last week show Taele pleaded guilty to the murder, which happened on July 8, 2022, and is facing 15 years to life. His sentencing is set for Aug. 30.

Taele was first arrested by Ogden police on July 9, 2022, in connection with the death of another man, Tyler Belinti. Ogden police contacted the Spanish Fork Police Department, saying that Taele had confessed to the murder of Hooley in Spanish Fork.

Court documents say that Taele told Ogden investigators that he was directed by a “higher power” to kill both men and was attempting to “purge” the city.

Court documents say that law enforcement responded to a call early in the morning on July 8, 2022, and discovered a deceased man, who was identified as Hooley, behind a local business near 1000 North in Spanish Fork.

Medical examiners determined Hooley’s death was a homicide, likely due to blunt force trauma and a stab wound, according to court documents.

The following day, July 9, 2022, Ogden Police responded to a call reporting that a man, later identified as Taele, allegedly beat and hung another man, who was later identified as Beliniti.

Taele was taken into custody by Ogden law enforcement, who then interviewed him and contacted investigators in Spanish Fork.

Taele was declared mentally competent to stand trial in October 2022 after his attorneys requested a psychiatric evaluation.

As part of the plea deal, the charges in Ogden were reduced from one count of aggravated murder to first-degree murder. The deal also states that the sentence in the Spanish Fork case will run consecutively with any sentencing in the Ogden case. A plea hearing has been scheduled for July 16 in the Ogden case.

Also as part of the agreement, the court agreed to drop charges against Taele in another case earlier that year where he allegedly resisted arrest, spat on and disarmed a police officer when officers confronted him for riding the FrontRunner train without a ticket.

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