Child Abuse Homicide Charges Likely For Teen Babysitter in Utah

A 16 year old Utah teen accused of shaking a baby in his care could be facing child abuse homicide charges after the infant died following being taken off life support.

In his care

Photo by: Morgan

The teenager, who is unnamed due to his age was taking care of the 5 month old baby girl and her two year old brother at their home in West Valley City when the baby stopped breathing. The infant was rushed to the hospital where it was determined that she had been shaken by the teenage babysitter. The baby was taken off life support after it was determined her injuries were too severe. She then sadly passed away.

Child abuse homicide

Authorities said the boy was being held on child abuse charges pending a potential change to homicide if the baby ended up not making it. Now that she has died, the charged against the boy could be enhanced to child abuse homicide. Utah Code 76-5-208 states “Criminal homicide constitutes child abuse homicide if, under circumstances not amounting to aggravated murder . . . the actor causes the death of a person under 18 years of age and the death results from child abuse,
(a) if the child abuse is done recklessly. . . [it is a first degree felony];
(b) if the child abuse is done with criminal negligence . . .[it is a second degree felony]:
(c) if, under circumstances not amounting to the type of child abuse homicide described in Subsection [A], the child   abuse is done intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence . . . .[it is also a second degree         felony].”

Know your limits

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, “SBS/AHT [Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma] is the leading cause of physical child abuse deaths in the U.S.” Taking care of an infant or a small child can be very difficult, especially if the baby cries incessantly or behaves contrary to how the person caring for them would want them to. Most caretakers practice soothing techniques and other methods to bring happiness to both the child and the caretaker. Even then, sometimes the crying or unwanted behavior continues. Caretakers are encouraged to know their limits and take the appropriate time and space needed to ensure they can handle the situation with the young child safely and appropriately. Teens who may be dealing with surges and fluctuations of hormones known to cause irritability and even moments of rage should decide whether or not child care is something they should be participating in. Any teens facing charges for grave mistakes regarding children in their care should consult with a juvenile defense attorney immediately.

Aggravated Assault Charges for Utah Teen who Attacked Pregnant Girlfriend

A Utah teen has been charged with aggravated assault for an attack on his pregnant girlfriend that was done in the hopes to cause a miscarriage.

Attack on pregnant girlfriend

Photo by: Ernestro Andrade

18 year old Trevor Knudson of St. George, Utah was arrested after his 16 year old girlfriend contacted police stating that she had been physically assaulted. The teen who is pregnant with Knudson’s child told police that Knudson wanted her to miscarry and so he proceeded to punch and kick the pregnant teen in the stomach multiple times before throwing her against a wall. Knudson, who was not said to be represented by an attorney, openly agreed with the victim’s statement to police.

Aggravated assault

Knudson was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on charges of aggravated assault which is defined by Utah Code 76-5-103 as “. . . conduct that is:

i. An attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another;
ii. A threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
iii. An act, committed with unlawful force or violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another; and . . . includes the use of a dangerous weapon . . . any act that impedes the breathing or the circulation of blood . . . or other means of force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.”

Felony charges

Police have not released any information on condition of the pregnant teen or the unborn baby other than the fact that she waited until the morning after the incident to contact police. Additionally, Knudson was booked on third degree aggravated assault charges; charges that would have been enhanced to second degree had the assault resulted in serious bodily injury. A third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine no greater than $5,000. Anyone facing criminal charges such as aggravated assault should seek an attorney prior to police questioning. Soon to be parents of any age who may feel distraught or anxious about the upcoming birth of a child are encouraged to contact their local health department for helpful options such as parenting classes or mental health services.

Utah Teen Charged with Attempted Murder Following Family Argument

A Utah teen has been charged with attempted murder following a heated family argument.

Family dispute

Photo by: SaminatorH

18 year old Tristan Olsen and his father both of Vernal Utah were engaged in a verbal argument when things quickly intensified. It is not known at this time whether or not the two began physically assaulting each other first, but what ended the argument was when the younger Olsen attacked his father with a knife, stabbing him multiple times. After the father and son went outside to smoke together, they told the mother who called for an ambulance. The father was taken to the hospital where he is in stable condition and Tristan Olsen was booked into the Uintah County Jail for attempted homicide.

Attempted murder

According to Utah Code 76-4-101, “. . . a person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime [such as murder] if he:
(a) Engages in conduct constituting a substantial step toward commission of the crime; and
(b)
(i) intends to commit the crime; or
(ii) when causing a particular result is an element of the crime, he acts with an awareness that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause that result.”
That section also goes on to note that “. . . conduct constitutes a substantial step if it strongly corroborates the actor’s mental state [as acting with awareness of the potential result of the conduct].”

Attempted murder or something else

According to young Olsen, his father was the first to reach for the knife used in the attack. If this information proves correct, Olsen could have been acting in self-defense which is not punishable if “. . . the person reasonably believes that force or a threat of force is necessary to defend the person . . . against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force.” If any witnesses or the victim do not collaborate with that story, Olsen could still see a lessened charge since his actions were done during a heated argument when emotions were heightened. Like most teens who lash out at their parents, it is likely that Olsen didn’t intend to do his father harm. An experienced attorney can ensure Olsen receives the mental health services he needs while making sure he is represented fairly in court.

Attempted Homicide Charges for Utah Student Who Caused Non-Life Threatening Injuries to Classmate

A Utah student is being charged with attempted homicide after he caused non-life threatening injuries to a classmate at Northridge High School in Layton.

Razor blade attack

Photo by: atalou

During lunch at Northridge High School in Layton, a 15 year old boy came up from behind another 15 year old male student and cut the other student’s neck with a razor blade. A school resource officer quickly intervened, and the victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries that required stitches. The young teen with the blade was calmly arrested and charged with attempted homicide.

Attempted homicide

Attempted homicide is a serious charge that even if committed by a juvenile, could end up resulting in a prison term. Utah law states that there are some serious felonies that if committed by a minor fourteen years of age or older, could cause a juvenile to be tried as an adult. According to Utah Code 78A-6-702, some of these felonies include:
i. “Aggravated arson
ii. Aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury to another;
iii. Aggravated kidnapping;
iv. Aggravated burglary;
v. Aggravated robbery;
vi. Aggravated sexual assault;
vii. Felony discharge of a firearm;
viii. Attempted aggravated murder; or
ix. Attempted murder; or
(b) [other offenses] involving the use of a dangerous weapon, which would be a felony if committed by an adult [and the minor has previous felony convictions with a dangerous weapon]”.

Clash between two teens

According to other students and investigating officers, the two teens involved had been having problems with each other for quite some time. The animosity between the two obviously got so bad as to lead to an attempt at taking another’s life. Parents and teachers are encouraged to observe teen’s behavior for signs of hostility toward or from other students and speak to school officials before things escalate. For more information on juvenile crimes that could result in adult charges, contact an attorney who has experience in both courts.

Utah Teens Charged After Business in the Park Turned Aggravated Robbery

Two southern Utah teens were arrested late last month after their questionable business deal in the park turned into aggravated robbery.

“Business”

Photo by: Andy Thrasher

18 year old Jess P. Bozek and 19 year old Angel Isaiah Vazquez-Mendoza were arrested after an individual came forward stating the duo had met him in a quiet park to conduct a business transaction yet instead had robbed him at gunpoint. The victim stated the two demanded the items he had of value on him such as a wallet and drug items and when he challenged their demands, they physically restrained him while threatening him with a gun and knife. Authorities were able to quickly locate Bozek and Vazquez-Mendoza and both were arrested on multiple charges including aggravated robbery.

Aggravated Robbery

Although the victim wasn’t hurt and the gun was claimed to be a fake, two different weapons were used to threaten bodily harm which therefore constituted aggravated robbery. Standard robbery is defined by Utah Code 76-6-301 as when “[a] person unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take person property in the possession of another from his person, or immediate presence, against his will, by means of force or fear, and with a purpose or intent to deprive the person permanently or temporarily of the person property”. Section 76-6-302 of the Utah State Code adds: “A person commits aggravated robbery if in the course of committing robbery, he:

(a) Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon . . . ;
(b) Causes serious bodily injury upon another; or
(c) Takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle.”

Five to life

Both boys who are legally adults but who appear to be still immensely naive when it comes to common sense are facing serious charges for their business deal gone awry. Standard robbery is a second degree felony while aggravated robbery is a first degree felony. The 18 and 19 year old could be facing five years to life in prison for their mistake. For more information on felony charges as they pertain to juveniles and young adults, contact a criminal defense attorney who has experience working with clients of all ages.