A 19-year-old man pleaded not guilty to murder charges after reportedly killing a 26-year-old man at an apartment complex near Utah Valley University four months ago.
Elbert John Paule appeared in 4th District Court on Wednesday wearing shackles and a green jumpsuit, answering “not guilty” to each charge the judge stated.
He is facing a first-degree felony for murder, a second-degree felony for obstructing justice, a class A misdemeanor for reckless endangerment and a class B misdemeanor for assault.
Paule reportedly shot Dominique Barnett, 26, with a 12-gauge shotgun on the doorstep of a third-floor apartment at Parkway Lofts in Orem, according to charging documents.
The two men had reportedly argued on the phone sometime before Barnett and his girlfriend arrived at Paule’s apartment around 8 p.m. on Feb. 28.
The girlfriend was standing near Barnett when she heard a gunshot and watched Barnett fall to the ground. She immediately called 911 as Paule ran out of the apartment. Paule initially attacked her before fleeing the scene, a search warrant stated.
Barnett was transported to Utah Valley Hospital in Provo but pronounced dead at about 9 p.m. The State Medical Examiner concluded “the shotgun blast caused massive trauma to Mr. Barnett’s liver and he quickly bled to death,” police reported.
After a short manhunt, Paule turned himself over to officers at the Orem Police Department.
Paule’s criminal history in the state showed only one criminal charge from December 2018, when he failed to stop at the command of a Utah Highway Patrol trooper.
The next court hearing is scheduled for July 31.