Man who updated Facebook during his 2011 siege gets sentenced
People (all you texting-while-driving folks) are taking social media to the extreme these days, but none perhaps more so than Jason Valdez from Ogden, Utah.
This enterprising character was sentenced to five years in prison this week in connection with a 2011 incident in which he kept friends and family updated via Facebook during his hostage standoff with state authorities at a Salt Lake City motel.
Over 16 hours, while SWAT officers tried to reason with the 38-year-old to release his female hostage, Valdez was posting real-time updates.
“I’m currently in a standoff wit … [police], kinda ugly but ready for whatever,” Valdez began in a series of posts. “I love u guyz and if I don’t make it out of here alive that I’m in a better place and you were all great friends.”
Later, he updated his status.
“They shut our phones down but we’re okay, everyones comments mean a lot. But how this ends is on the cops now,” Valdez wrote. “And my HOSTAGE as they call her is perfectly fine and holding it down wit me…”
Later he included photos of himself posing with Veronica Jensen, one with the caption: “Got a cute hostage, huh?”
The exchanges are still available online.
This week, Valdez pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated murder and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person in the June 18, 2011, incident. An aggravated kidnapping charge was dismissed. Valdez received concurrent sentences in Utah State Prison of five years to life for the attempted aggravated murder conviction and one to 15 years for the possession of a dangerous weapon conviction.
As the drama unfolded, Valdez added about a dozen new Facebook friends, some of whom began to mock his situation.
Friends and family responded with more than 100 messages. At least one of them warned Valdez about police activity outside, to which he responded, “Thank you homie. Good looking out.”
Valdez isn’t the first to use Facebook during a crime. In 2009, a Georgia burglar logged into the site while robbing a house -- and forgot to log out.
But even good times on Facebook must come to an end. Even for Valdez.
“Well everyone I’m lettin Veronica go here real soon but this is the end,” the gunman wrote after 16 hours.
Moments later, he filed an update.
“Well i was lettin this girl go but these dumb [police] made an attempt to come in after I told em not to, so I popped off a couple more shots and now we’re startin over again it seems.”
Valdez shot himself in the chest after firing at officers who stormed his motel room in the Western Colony Inn to end the ordeal.
Jensen was unharmed.
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