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ND man gets 19 years for killing co-worker, dumping body in field

WILLISTON, N.D. -- A former Williston man who'd admitted to shooting a co-worker and disposing of his body in a field in 2014 has been sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Tovias Carrillo (left) speaks to his defense attorney, Steven Mottinger, during his sentencing hearing Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 in Williams County District Court in Williston. Photo by Elizabeth Hackenburg / Williston Herald
Tovias Carrillo (left) speaks to his defense attorney, Steven Mottinger, during his sentencing hearing Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 in Williams County District Court in Williston. Photo by Elizabeth Hackenburg / Williston Herald

WILLISTON, N.D. - A former Williston man who'd admitted to shooting a co-worker and disposing of his body in a field in 2014 has been sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Tovias Carrillo pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated assault and two charges of terrorizing in August for killing Juan Palacios and threatening two other men after Palacios disappeared.

As part of a plea agreement, Northwest District Judge David Nelson on Thursday sentenced Carrillo to 30 years for murder, with 11 of those years suspended. He also handed down four-year sentences for the remaining charges, which will run concurrently with the 19-year term.

Prosecutors credited Carrillo for the nearly three years he's served in prison since his arrest.

Carrillo, 51, appeared in court in an orange jumpsuit and shackles, and remained silent during the hearing.

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His attorney, Steve Mottinger, told Nelson that he is satisfied with the outcome of the case.

"We believe it's appropriate under the circumstances," he said of the agreement.

After his release, he will likely be deported to Mexico, according to attorneys.

Carrillo is already serving a four-year sentence at the state penitentiary for trying to conceal evidence after he attacked an inmate in 2015 in the Williams County Correctional Center.

Authorities say Carrillo and Palacios, 51, worked together at a landscaping business in Williston. The two got into a longstanding argument that escalated until Carrillo met Palacios at his trailer on University Avenue and shot him in the head in January 2014.

He drove the body to a field east of Williston, and led investigators to the site after confessing to the killing.

Carrillo also threatened to kill two other men who he knew through his job around the same time, police say.

After his arrest, Carrillo earned more charges by attacking an inmate at the Williams County jail with a coffee cup and hiding bloody evidence in his cell.

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Last year, authorities say he attacked another inmate at the state penitentiary in Bismarck with a sharp metal object. Carrillo was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon in a correctional facility, and is scheduled for trial next May.

Related Topics: CRIME
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