Park City murder sentencing delayed
A 3rd District Court judge has agreed to delay the sentencing of a man convicted of murder in the 2016 shooting death of a popular Park City bartender, giving the killer’s side more time to review an important report provided to the judge in anticipation of sentencing.
James Henfling, convicted in October of murdering Jose Fernandez in a Park City condominium, had been scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday. Judge Kent Holmberg rescheduled the sentencing for March 19.
Attorneys for Henfling sought the delay based on the timing of what is known as a pre-sentencing report. The report is a crucial document as a judge considers a sentence. Pre-sentencing reports are private documents that outline someone’s background, including whether they have a criminal history.
Henfling’s attorneys in a court filing on Saturday, Jan. 6, say they received a copy of the pre-sentencing report in the middle of the day on Jan. 5. The filing says the attorneys could not present the report to Henfling for a review of its accuracy and the possibility that information was not included. The filing also says the report was not provided three working days before the scheduled sentencing, as is required.
“Additionally, upon initial review, counsel for Mr. Henfling believes that there will likely be various objections to the report, and a request for modification,” the filing says. “The report writer was not aware of trial testimony that varies from whatever the writer used to compile the ‘offense summary.’”
It also says Henfling’s attorneys intend to object to a section of the report entitled “evaluative assessment and problem areas,” claims documentation in support of restitution has not been given to Henfling’s side and says the attorneys plan to object to a form containing information about “aggravating and mitigating circumstances” as well as a form outlining a matrix that describes criminal homicide.
Margaret Olson, the Summit County attorney, said other factors led to the length of the delay in sentencing, including that the judge also was recently assigned the calendar of civil cases and attorney schedules.
Henfling shot Fernandez, who was 37 and lived in Park City, in a condominium. The victim died four days later. The two were in the condominium with Henfling’s sister when a fistfight started, leading to the shooting. Henfling, 29, claimed he shot in self-defense, but prosecutors argued he intended to kill Fernandez.
The statutory sentence for murder is 15 years to life in state prison. The Henfling sentence could be enhanced by one year since a dangerous weapon was used.
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The Park City Council primary election is slated for Aug. 13, but the ballots in the vote-by-mail contest were scheduled to be sent on Tuesday. The Summit County Clerk’s Office anticipates the ballots will arrive in mailboxes and post-office boxes on Friday or Saturday.