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Ponce preliminary hearing

Luis Ponce walks into the courtroom before the start of his preliminary trial for the first-degree murder of Christopher Fassett on Jan. 19 at the Cassia County Judicial Center in Burley. Fassett's body was discovered at his automotive shop on Dec. 13, 2017.

BURLEY — A sentence hearing for a man who pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of a local businessman was reset on Dec. 11.

Luis Gabriel Ponce, 22, is charged in the shooting death of Christopher Fassett, 58 of Burley.

Ponce, also of Burley, is accused of shooting Fassett while he worked at his transmission repair shop last December.

Ponce’s attorney Timothy Schneider asked for the hearing to be rescheduled because Schneider did not have enough time to review presentence investigation reports with Ponce before the hearing.

Schneider said he received the reports Friday but was in court in Minidoka County on Monday.

The hearing was reset for 11 a.m. Jan. 4 in Cassia County District Court.

Ponce was also charged with felony robbery and burglary, but those charges will be dismissed by the Cassia County Prosecutor under a plea agreement.

Under the agreement, Ponce pleaded guilty to the murder charge and both the prosecutor and defense attorneys will recommend a sentence of 28 years to life in prison to the judge.

Cassia County Sheriff investigators said Ponce shot Fassett in the stomach and head during an attempted robbery while Fassett was working underneath a vehicle.

During a court hearing, a detective said Ponce thought Fassett had money at the shop and when Ponce asked Fassett for some cash, Fassett told him no and offered to let him work for him. Ponce told him he couldn’t wait and shot him.

Ponce then searched the shop for cash but did not find any, detectives said.

Ponce came to the sheriff’s office after the shooting and told detectives that he killed Fassett. He later took officers to his home, where deputies found the gun that was used in the crime and then he took them to a garbage can in Burley, where officers found the gloves he wore during the murder.

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