Mohave County has settled for a 3.75 year prison sentence for a man it tried to put away for more than 25 years. Mohave County Court Commissioner Billy Sipe said no one is happy with the result of the prosecution of Chase Salveson, a case he said illustrates that justice isn’t always served in America.
Judge Sipe’s comments aimed to console members of a murder victim’s family who are unhappy that the Bullhead City man didn’t get more punishment for any involvement he may have had in the 2011 death of Raymond Sanchez. The 36-year-old Bullhead City man was stabbed 84 times and his body, wrapped in a shower curtain secured with duct tape marked with Salveson’s DNA, was dumped in the desert where discovered by passersby.
A Superior Court Jury last October acquitted Salveson of first degree murder. The same jury nearly found Salveson guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, but was hung in an 11-1 vote favoring conviction.
Following the jury verdicts, prosecutor Megan McCoy was confident in bringing the matter back to trial, seeking conviction on the conspiracy count on the strength of the first jury vote. But witness problems and other issues ultimately left McCoy to conclude she would not likely prevail at a second trial.
A plea agreement proposing case resolution with an abandonment of a dead body conviction was initially rejected as too lenient by Mohave County Superior Court judge Steve Conn. McCoy and defense attorney Virginia Crews were able to convince Judge Sipe to approve a similar deal during a February 24 hearing.
McCoy said the plea was the best the state could do given a lack of eyewitnesses to the homicide and a drug world culture she said puts a premium on silence and not snitching on others.
The victim’s family members wanted more prison time for Salveson, contending conviction is possible.
“How does his DNA get on duct tape,” Sanchez’s mother implored. “Where is my justice? Where is Raymond’s justice?”
The 45 month sentence imposed by Sipe was the maximum possible under limitations of the plea agreement crafted by attorneys. Given credit for the more than 2.5 years he has already spent in jail, Salveson will be eligible for release from prison in about 14 months.