Guilty Verdicts Reached Thursday in Daniels Murder Case

Guilty Verdicts Reached Thursday in Daniels Murder Case

Rene Daniels, Sweetwater County Detention Center photo

GREEN RIVER – Following nearly four full days of trial, Rene Irisrose Daniels, 47, of Parowan, Utah was found guilty of second degree murder and aggravated homicide by vehicle in the May 23, 2023 death of Emiliano Morales III Thursday.

The jury deliberated throughout the afternoon Thursday after closing arguments concluded. District Court Judge Richard Lavery briefly reconvened court to answer a question from a juror regarding if they have to place a guilty verdict on count two, the aggravated homicide by vehicle charge, if they found her guilty on count one, the second degree murder charge. Lavery said the two charges represent two theories and the jury could mark boxes for either charge, both, or neither.

Following a few more moments of deliberation, the jury reached their verdict. Prior to court resuming at 4:10 p.m. Thursday, family and friends of both Daniels and Morales walked into Lavery’s courtroom and sat in the public gallery. Daniels’ group sat behind her attorneys on the defense’s side while Morales’ family sat behind Sweetwater County Attorney, Daniel Erramouspe’s, desk. Some of Morales’ family members joined hands and prayed outside the courtroom before walking in.

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“We are advised the jury has reached a verdict,” Lavery said when he resumed the hearing. 

Prior to Sweetwater County Clerk of District Court Donnalee Bobak reading the verdict, quiet weeping could be heard from both sides of the gallery. Lavery ordered Daniels to stand and Bobak read the jury’s verdicts. Following that, Daniels’ defense attorneys requested a poll of the jurors, asking if the guilty verdicts were indeed what they found. One by one, each juror’s name was read off and each responded affirmatively.

Daniels’ bond was modified to no bond as she awaits sentencing. Lavery ordered an updated presentence investigation to be done, with a sentencing date to be set later. Once Lavery adjourned the court, Morales’ family and friends tearfully rejoiced outside the courtroom, with many hugging Erramouspe and one another.

“You guys were fantastic to work with,” Erramouspe said to the group, saying they were a great help with the case.

While Erramouspe admits full justice is impossible to achieve when it comes to a person’s death, he said he is extremely happy with the outcome of the trial. He said the Rock Springs Police Department’s reconstruction of the scene and Det. Matt Jones’ work on the investigation were also significant factors in prosecuting Daniels. 

For Morales’ family and friends, the healing process has begun, though the tragedy of his death will remain with them. Rose Gonzales, the mother of Morales’ son, said the verdict is a huge relief. Daniels ran Morales over at the 9th Street Kum & Go in Rock Springs, where her son worked. She said while Daniels will be sentenced, she already sentenced Morales’ loved ones to a lifetime of grief and trauma however, healing has started. Gonzales said her son has struggled with taking Morales’ ashes home, but said he’s feeling more comfortable with taking them home now. 

Maryalyce Giordano, Morales’ mother, said she felt excitement the moment the verdict was read, saying it was justification that he meant something to people.