Skip to Content

Man Pleads Not Guilty In Christmas Day Stabbing, Victim’s Mom Reacts

The suspect in the Christmas stabbing of 20-year-old Buck Garner was in court Tuesday to enter his plea on second-degree murder charges.

Joseph Manuel Chavez appeared in Bonneville County Court as members of both the Garner and Chavez families looked on from the gallery.

Chavez entered a not guilty plea. Garner’s mom, Lisa, reacted to the plea after Chavez was dismissed.

“I know Buck’s keeping me strong,” she said. “When I’m around people, I mean. I have my moments, but I try not to show them to others.”

The plea wasn?t the only piece of business discussed in the courtroom regarding the case.

Judge Dane Watkins Jr. said the charge carries a potential sentence of 10 years to life in prison. He also brought up a new development in the charges against Chavez ? an enhancement to that murder charge, use of a deadly weapon in commission of a felony, with the possibility of another 15-year-sentence.

After suffering multiple stab wounds in the early hours of Christmas Day 2011, Buck Garner died in the front seat of the car his mom has to drive every day.

“Every time I get in my car, it’s hard,” said Lisa Garner.

She said court on Tuesday was a start on the path to what she wants more than anything.

“I want to be able to feel peace in my heart,” she said.

She said that peace can sometimes seem far away.

“One day I feel forgiveness, and one day I feel hatred,” she said.

But the feelings of hatred, she said, seem to get smaller each time she holds a tiny urn she carries with her, filled with the ashes of her son.

Chavez is one of seven defendants facing varying degrees of charges related to the murder. A pretrial conference for Chavez is scheduled for May.

Garner?s mother, Lisa, was in court with her sisters and a close friend.

“It’s very hard,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ?Just don’t go.’ But I can’t not come, because I feel like I need to be here for my son.”

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content