Aaron Michael Shamo
Weber County Sheriff’s Office via Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys disagree over whether gruesome photos of a man who died after snorting fentanyl-laced fake painkillers should be allowed in the upcoming trial of the Cottonwood Heights man who allegedly made and sold the drugs.

A closeup of a man identified as R.K. showing his face smeared with blood and mucus and two other pictures are necessary for a jury to decide wether Aaron Michael Shamo is responsible for his death, according to court documents.

“None of the pictures evokes an overpowering emotional response. There are no open, gaping wounds. There is little blood,” Michael Gadd, special assistant U.S. attorney wrote.

But defense attorneys, including Greg Skordas, argue the photos are “extremely prejudicial” and would prevent Shamo from getting a fair trial.

“There is a very real possibility of undue jury hostility toward Mr. Shamo where the claims being made involved the death of an individual” the attorneys wrote. “It invites a jury to convict based on broad concepts of community safety, sympathy, fear and passion.”

Whether to allow the photos is among several issues a U.S. District Court judge is considering before Shamo’s scheduled four-week trial starts next month.

Prosecutors allege in a 13-count indictment that Shamo intentionally and knowingly distributed a substance containing fentanyl, the use of which resulted in the June 13, 2016, death of R.K.

Shamo, 29, also is charged with continuing criminal enterprise, importation and manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, drug trafficking and money laundering. He is being held in the Salt Lake County jail.

Six co-defendants in the case — none of whom were charged with distributing fentanyl resulting in death — have reached plea deals with prosecutors.

Prosecutors allege Shamo ran an international drug trafficking …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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Should jurors see gruesome dead body photos in upcoming trial of Utah man accused of selling fake drugs?

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