Man Murders Girlfriend Over Busted Vape Cartridge

A 27-year-old Utah man now faces a first-degree murder charge for choking his girlfriend to death over a defective vape cartridge, according to a probable cause affidavit reviewed by The Daily Beast.

Daniel Padilla-Ang was arrested early Saturday morning by officers with the Orem Police Department after the accused killer called 911 to turn himself in, the filing states.

“The reporting party advised dispatch that he had strangled his girlfriend and that she was dead,” it says. “Before he had disconnected with dispatch he also advised that they had been drinking and he needed to be taken in.”

When cops showed up at the basement apartment near Utah Valley University, they found Padilla kneeling, facing away from the door, with his hands—“which appeared to have blood on them,” the affidavit notes—behind his head. The unnamed woman was located in a nearby bedroom, unconscious and not breathing. She had “significant facial injuries and her face was swollen and covered in blood,” the filing states. Medics arrived shortly thereafter and pronounced her dead.

Under questioning by investigators, Padilla said the pair had been in a relationship for the past four months. He told cops that the woman had come over to his home earlier that day and that the two started drinking that night.

“Daniel stated the female victim had a vape cartridge that was broken when he grabbed it from her, at which point Daniel said the female victim hit him,” the affidavit states. “Daniel said after he had been hit and pushed by the female victim he grabbed her neck with his right hand and started to choke her. The female victim then went to the ground where Daniel stated he punched her in the face, and then started to choke her with both of his hands. Daniel stated that as he was choking her he said ‘Die Bitch’ until she was no longer moving.”

At that point, Padilla “checked to see if she was alive…by placing his hand over her mouth and pinching her nose to see if she would gasp for air,” it continues. “Daniel stated that when she did not respond he took a couple of shots of alcohol and sent 2 text messages to family members stating that he had just killed someone and that he wouldn’t be seeing them for a while. Daniel admitted numerous times during the interview that he had killed the female victim and that he needed to be locked up.”

The affidavit does not specify whether the vape in question contained cannabis or nicotine.

Padilla has been arrested five times in the past eight years, including two times for domestic violence, the document explains. At the time of his latest arrest on Saturday, Padilla was on probation for those incidents and said he had “just finished his counseling services.”

A judge ruled Padilla to be an “elevated risk” to the community, and ordered him held without bail. He does not have a lawyer listed in court records and was unable to be reached for comment by The Daily Beast on Monday.

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