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 Gary William Daniels

Gary William Daniels

Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Death 12 Nov 1992 (aged 37)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Burial Murray, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Plot 14 070 7
Memorial ID 36131 · View Source
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By Brian West, Staff Writer

A Bountiful man was charged with murder Monday in connection with a Nov. 12 shooting death at a Rose Park business.

Roger T. Westenskow, 45, was charged with murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of Gary Daniels, 30, of Salt Lake County. Prosecutors say that after shooting the victim, Westenskow instructed others to call the police, then returned and shot him two more times.

Daniels and Westenskow were involved in an argument at Westenskow and Baker Enterprises, 914 W. Duluth Ave. (1550 North), when the shooting occurred. Westenskow is a partner in the business.

"It was an ongoing (dispute) they'd had for quite a while," said Salt Lake Police Lt. Jim Bell.

Westenskow admitted that he fired two bullets from a Colt Trooper .357 magnum handgun and hit Daniels, according to documents filed in 3rd Circuit Court. But defense attorney Stephen McCaughey said the shooting was in self-defense. He said Daniels had been threatening Westenskow and came after him with a screwdriver when the shooting occurred.

But after the shooting, prosecutors say Westenskow ran across the street to another business and told workers there had been a shooting. He told them to call the police because "something terrible had happened," police said.

Westenskow returned alone to Daniels, who was lying on the ground, and fired two more bullets into his back, the court documents say.

An autopsy indicated that the victim was still alive when the additional shots were fired, Bell said.

Westenskow posted a $50,000 bond and is out of jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge Dec. 1.

Deseret News November 24, 1992


By Brian West and Nicole Bonham, Staff Writers

In an emotional climax to a three-day trial, jurors determined that Roger Westenskow was justified in shooting his "friend" to death, a friend who he claimed had rained terror over his work and family for years.

The jury voted only once. "We all had our own decision, but then we discussed it," one juror said.

The moment the seven-woman, one-man panel announced its decision, tears flowed freely in a courtroom largely made up of Westenskow's friends and family.

"We had to believe it was going
to be OK," said his 79-year-old mother, May Westenskow.

Westenskow thanked each juror as they left the courtroom, hugging most of them. At least one woman wished him good luck.

"I thanked the jury for doing what I know is true," he later said. "My reaction is I know I can start my life."

The jury acquitted the 46-year-old Bountiful man in the Nov. 12, 1992, shooting death of Gary Daniels, 37, despite the fact that Westenskow shot Daniels twice more after fatally wounding him in the heart and face.

Westenskow said he shot Daniels in self-defense after Daniels threatened to give him "therapy" with a screwdriver. After the first two shots, Westenskow paused and told nearby workers to call the police, then returned and fired two more shots into Daniels' back.

That's the main reason prosecutors chose to charge him with murder.

"If he's still afraid of Gary Daniels getting up (after the first two shots), why'd he go back into the shop at all?" prosecutor Greg Warner said. "What does it show? It shows intent. He's mad at this guy."

But defense attorney Steven McCaughey argued that because the second shot was fatal, any other shots were inconsequential. "Once it was determined the shot that killed him was the second shot . . . the case was on its way to an acquittal," he said.

Witnesses testified that Daniels was a violent man who constantly manipulated people with death threats. Although Westenskow had befriended the prison parolee, Daniels had beaten and threatened him for years. Westenskow said Daniels had taken charge of every facet of his life and his business.

"You do what you have to do to save your life . . . then you're handcuffed . . . and charged with murder," Westenskow said. "He did something to me that is the worst sin in the world" - controlled him using his family's well-being as leverage.

"When you're worried about your family and loved ones, you'll do about anything," he said.

Daniels' widow, Kathy Daniels, said the trial convinced her that her husband was killed in self-defense. She asked to testify Thursday and said she never knew her husband was regularly beating on Westenskow.

"Yes, Gary was (a jerk)." She explained that her husband would often chase people across town if they cut him off on the road. He'd often pull other drivers over and challenge them to a fight.

"If he knew something bothered you, he'd keep it up and keep it up," she said.

Kathy Daniels said her husband had occasionally abused her and she feels her father could easily have been in the same position as Westenskow - faced with murder for killing Gary Daniels.

"I felt like the physical abuse would probably get worse," she said. "If the altercations between Gary and I would have kept up and Dad found out, Dad may have shot Gary if Gary didn't kill him."

During closing arguments, Warner said Westenskow was a "decent guy in a bad situation." But Daniels was someone very unlikable.

"That doesn't mean if you're (a jerk) someone can decide you're a plague and get rid of you," he told the jury. "Who wouldn't have had enough (of Daniels)? But when you have had enough, you can't just take the law into your own hands."

Even though Daniels had repeatedly threatened Westenskow, he seldom followed through on those threats, Warner said. The fact that Westenskow paused, then returned and fired two more bullets shows he intended to kill Daniels and was not just acting in self-defense.

But McCaughey said his client was left with no choice when Daniels became angry and threatened him with the tool. "He was in imminent fear of bodily injury and that gives him the right to use deadly force."

After testifying, Kathy Daniels said if she'd known what she knows today about her dead husband, she probably would not have married him. "If I hadn't been so afraid of Gary, I would have made sure he never married her," Westenskow added.

Deseret News Friday, September 24, 1993




  • Maintained by: Anne
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 36131
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gary William Daniels (20 Aug 1955–12 Nov 1992), Find A Grave Memorial no. 36131, citing Murray City Cemetery, Murray, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Anne (contributor 46788213) .