Judge doubles bail for man accused of murdering St. George teen

5th District Court courtroom, St. George, Utah, April 19, 2019 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The man suspected in the shooting death of a teen in St. George appeared in court Tuesday to face a first-degree murder charge, at which time his bail was increased to $1 million.

Nicanor Vasquez-Mendoza, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, Aug. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Nicanor Vasquez-Mendoza, 32, of St. George, made an initial appearance in 5th District Court on one count of first-degree murder and multiple other charges that include second-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute and obstruction of justice.

During his appearance, Vazeuz-Mendoza’s bail requirements were addressed by Judge Jeffrey Wilcox, who raised bail from $500,000 to $1 million at the request of prosecutors.

Vazeuz-Mendoza’s charges stem from a shooting reported Aug. 14 shortly before 7 p.m. at a residence on 2700 East that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Skyler Armstrong. Responders to the incident arrived to find Armstrong inside of the home suffering from a gunshot wound. The teen was transported to the hospital by ambulance where he died shortly thereafter.

Vasquez-Mendoza and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Silvia Lopez of St. George, were both arrested in connection with the shooting.

Silvia Lopez, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, Aug. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Lopez was charged with one second-degree felony count of obstructing justice and five third-degree felony counts of witness tampering. She remains in custody at the time of this report.

At the time of the shooting, police say Lopez was in the living room when she heard a gunshot coming from inside the residence. She went toward the bedroom and saw several individuals running out of the room, including Vasquez-Mendoza.

Lopez entered the bedroom to find Armstrong on the floor bleeding from the head with a handgun on the floor next to his body. After checking to see if the teen was alive, she confronted Vasquez-Mendoza, who told her to have the other individuals in the room “get their stories straight,” according to court documents, and to tell police Armstrong was playing with the gun when he accidentally shot himself.

Vasquez-Mendoza then left the residence but was stopped in his vehicle by responding officers and brought back to the scene before being placed under arrest.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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