Friday, August 8, 2008

Tellez gets 24 years to life

Sentence pronounced in brutal murder of 16-year-old girl

Express Staff Writer

Confessed killer Freddy Tellez shows little emotion as hes ordered to spend at least the next 24 years of his life in prison for murdering 16-year-old Margarita Guardado almost a year ago in Hailey. Photo by David N. Seelig

Confessed killer Freddy Tellez was ordered Thursday to spend the next 24 years of his life in prison for murdering 16-year-old Margarita Guardado and setting her body on fire almost a year ago.

Tellez, 18, could spend the rest of his life behind bars, depending on whether he's later considered rehabilitatable.

Tellez remained expressionless during Thursday's hearing, even when sentence was pronounced.

Fifth District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee said the murder did not appear to be premeditated.

"There's no evidence that he went over to commit murder," Elgee said.

But commit murder he did, striking Guardado four times on the head with a carpenter's hammer, around 2 a.m. on Aug. 17, 2007. Her charred body was found the following morning in the street in front of her home on Mountain Ash drive in southeast Hailey. Her mother was only able to identify the body by a ring she was wearing.

"He continued to strike her even after she fell down," said Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas, who described Tellez as "angry, brutal and dangerous."

Public defender Douglas Werth described his client as a "loving, caring son."

"This is a case that almost occurred by happenstance," Werth said.

Tellez, who was 17 at the time of Guardado's death and was originally charged with first-degree murder, pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder in a plea arrangement with the prosecuting attorney's office, which agreed to recommend that Tellez be sentenced to 30 years to life.

Court records indicate that Guardado had been Tellez' girlfriend. He murdered her less than a week after she went on a camping trip to Redfish Lake with a 26-year-old Hailey man. Guardado and the man, identified by police as Ricardo Tellez-Vargas, were involved in a traffic accident on the north side of Galena Summit on Aug. 11, 2007 on their return trip to Hailey.

Guardado suffered a broken collarbone and was flown by emergency helicopter to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. She was released from the hospital the day before she was murdered.

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