Utah Supreme Court denies request to review Park City murder case
Family members of victim can have closure, Summit County attorney says
The Utah Supreme Court on Monday denied a request to review a case involving a man convicted of murder in the 2016 shooting death of a Park City bartender.
Attorneys for James Henfling had wanted the state’s highest court to look at the case. The Supreme Court did not explain the reasoning for the denial in the one-page order.
The Summit County Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case against Henfling, said in a prepared statement issued on Monday the Supreme Court denial ends Henfling’s “direct appeal of his conviction.”
Henfling in 2016 killed Jose Fernandez after a fistfight in a condominium on Empire Avenue. During the trial in 2017, Henfling’s side argued the shooting was in self-defense while the prosecution successfully convinced the jury Henfling intended to kill Fernandez and the victim did not pose a threat to Henfling at the moment of the shooting.
Fernandez was 37 at the time of his death. He worked at the No Name Saloon & Grill and Boneyard Saloon & Wine Dive. He is survived by a wife and daughter. The prepared statement from the Summit County Attorney’s Office described Fernandez as “a beloved community member.”
A 3rd District Court judge in 2018 sentenced Henfling, 32, to a prison term of 16 years to life. Judge Patrick Corum at the sentencing told Henfling “you fled and you left him on the floor to die.” Henfling is currently incarcerated at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison, according to Utah Department of Corrections records.
Henfling’s side later filed an appeal on multiple grounds that ultimately was put to the Supreme Court.
Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said on Monday further appeals are not anticipated, describing “finality” in the case and saying “justice was served.”
“The family members can have closure,” she said about the relatives of Fernandez, adding they no longer need to worry about the prospects of the case being retried.
Attorneys who represented Henfling at various points in the case did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.
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