After deliberating for an hour and a half on Friday afternoon, a Washington County jury found Angel Ignacio Sardina-Padilla guilty of first-degree murder in the May 2019 murder of Jose Natividad Janice Quiet.
Sardina-Padilla, 34, of Minneapolis, was sentenced to prison without the possibility of parole.
The family of Janice Quiet, 47, of Minneapolis, appeared grateful and happy after reading the verdict just after 5 p.m., watching the trial from a viewing room adjacent to the courtroom in Stillwater, so that a family member could testify in English to Spanish. be able to translate.
Before sentencing, Janice Quiet’s niece told how much she helped him grow up and “how he overcame a difficult childhood and how loving and kind he was,” said assistant Washington County Attorney Thomas Weddes. “She said she would be missed every day.”
Officers found the body of Janice Quiet in a pond next to a drain culvert running under 176th Street North in May Township in northern Washington County on June 2, 2019. Prosecutors have described the murder as gang-related.
During Friday’s closing debate, Assistant Washington County Attorney Nick Hydukovich grabbed the evidence bag containing the black leather belt officers found tied tightly around Janice Cuet’s neck.
“He didn’t deserve to have this belt wrapped around his neck. He didn’t deserve to be thrown into a culvert like a piece of garbage and left to rot for eight days,” said Hydukovich “He was not a piece of garbage. He deserved better. “
Witnesses testified during the two-week trial that they saw Janice Quiet attack Sardina-Padilla in an apartment in Minneapolis on the night of May 24, 2019. Witnesses also reported that looking at the Sardina-Padilla site, it appeared that there was a body in the trunk of a ford. Edge SUV according to Hydukovich.
Hydukovich played a video for the jury, which Sardina-Padilla allegedly sent to a woman via Facebook Messenger, which showed Janice Cuet being dragged across the floor with a belt wrapped around her neck. They also displayed two photographs side-by-side: one was a still picture taken from a video that showed a tattoo of an arm, and the other was a photo showing a tattoo of Sardina-Padilla’s arm; Both appeared similar in color and pattern.
Hydukovich said Sardina-Padilla later used Facebook Messenger to send a Pioneer Press article in which the body of Janice Quiet was found to five different people in May Township. “He’s bragging about it. He sent it to a woman named Michelle with a note that read, ‘I made mistakes, Michelle.'”
When another person asked who the person in the article was, Sardina-Padilla replied: “The man I took down.” “Friends, why would the one who didn’t commit this crime send this message?” Hydukovich asked.
Hydukovic said cell-phone records and GPS data collected by investigators placed Sardina-Padilla near the scene of Janice Quiet’s death at 2520 12th Avenue in Minneapolis and near the location where the body was found, Hydukovic said. .
A second man, 25-year-old Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza of St. Paul, pleaded guilty last year to aiding a felon – an accomplice after the fact – in connection with the death of Janice Quiet. He also pleaded guilty to abetting and abetting a first-degree murder in connection with another incident. He was sentenced to 13 years and 6 months in prison.
Cortez Mendoza testified at trial that he saw Sardina-Padilla attack Janice Quiet and then saw her fetch a dead body from a bedroom, Hydukovich said. “Guys, you can connect the dots,” he said.
Criminal defense attorney Brian Liefeld told the jury that there were “inconsistencies” in Cortez Mendoza’s story. Under the terms of Cortez Mendoza’s plea agreement, he said, Cortez Mendoza received a lesser sentence in exchange for his testimony. “If his story changes, his plea settlement is in jeopardy,” he said.
Weds said she was happy with the verdict — and how quickly the jury reached it. “We realized that the evidence for the crime was overwhelming,” he said. “A life was lost, the defendant was responsible for that loss, and he has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for that loss.”