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.

Utah Teen Arrested for Back to School Threat of Gun Violence

A 17 year old Utah teen was earlier this month for a back to school threat of gun violence that left students and parents more apprehensive about the return of the school year.

Back to school

Photo by: Jorge Diaz

Returning to school after a long summer can be tough for kids as they navigate a changed schedule with different teachers and sometimes even a new school. To add to the chaos and uneasiness of returning to class for an Orem high school was the threat of gun violence by a senior the day before classes resumed. The 17 year old girl who was not named due to her being a minor posted a video on Instagram showing her loading a gun and saying: “You ready for your first and last day of school?” Worried parents alerted police to the alarming video and the teen was later arrested for making a threat of gun violence against a school, a threat of terrorism.

Terrorism

The girl may have been serious about her threat of gun violence or she may have been playing a joke. Regardless, she is facing multiple charges including a second degree felony for making a threat of terrorism for her social media post. Utah Code 76-5-107.3 states “A person commits a [second degree] threat of terrorism if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and: threatens the use of a weapon [or hoax weapon] or mass destruction. .  or acts with intent to. . . intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” That section goes on to explain that “A threat . . . may be express[ed] or implied.”

No laughing matter

With more kids and parents being on edge following the increase of school shootings around the nation, making a “joke” threat of gun violence ends up not being funny to anyone involved. Kids and teens need to be warned about the ramifications of making these types of serious threats. Those minors and their families who are facing legal trouble following a hoax threat are encouraged to see a reputable attorney to handle the juvenile or district court case.

Skirmish between Groups of Teens in West Jordan Ends in Shooting

A skirmish between two groups of teens in West Jordan ended in a shooting last week and felony charges could be pending for one young juvenile.

Fight escalates

Photo by: Peter Anderson

One teen was shot and another arrested after a fight broke out between two groups of teens in West Jordan last Sunday evening. The incident, which is said to not be gang-related started for unknown reasons but quickly escalated to rocks being thrown and a gun being fired. One teen was shot multiple times and luckily did not have life-threatening injuries. Another teen who was said to be a 14 year old male was arrested and could face serious charges for shooting the other teen.

Aggravated Assault or worse

Authorities have not released what charges the teen is facing however it is possible the teen could face felony charges for either aggravated assault or a more serious offense such as attempted murder. Aggravated assault is defined by Section 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 of violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another; and

. . .that includes the use of:
i. a dangerous weapon . . . ;
ii. any act that impedes the breathing or the circulation of blood of another person. . . ;
iii. other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.

Aggravated assault is punishable as a third degree felony unless the victim is seriously injured or loses consciousness during the assault at which point the penalty faced would then be a second degree felony.

Increased charges if proven intent

If the teen pulling the trigger had better aim or had the victim been a foot more to one side, the shooting could have been deadly. Some may wonder if the risk of death from the crime would then constitute attempted murder, a first degree felony. Although shooting another individual is likely to cause death, it should not be considered attempted murder unless the shooter pulled the trigger with the intent to kill as stated in section 76-4-101. This pivotal question of intent is likely to arise during legal proceedings however which could dramatically increase the fine and prison term a defendant is facing. Anyone facing aggravated assault charges are encouraged to seek experienced legal representation immediately.

Group of Teens Suspected of Robbery in Southern Utah

A group of teens are suspected of robbery in southern Utah after the group physically attacked a man in his apartment, leaving with over two grand worth of items.

Return with criminal intent

The teens in question had been at the apartment previously and had allegedly returned to collect personal belongings. When they arrived back at the apartment the next day, they were said to be in possession of a firearm. Another resident at the apartment not present during the incident stated that the group had physically assaulted another man and threatened him with a gun before stealing several expensive items from the property.

Robbery vs armed robbery

The investigation into the robbery is still in progress and at this time police have not verified whether or not a firearm was used in the incident. Authorities do have names of the teens involved yet more information on formal charges should be forthcoming. The legal penalties for robbery are severe, yet the teens involved could face charges that are increased even more if the use of a firearm is proven. Utah Code 76-6-301 states: “A person commits robbery if:

(a) The person unlawfully and intentionally takes or attempts to take personal 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 personal property; or

(b) The person intentionally or knowingly uses force or fear of immediate force against another in the course of committing a theft or wrongful appropriation. “

Robbery is a second degree felony. If teens are found to have used a firearm during the course of the robbery or “cause[d] serious bodily injury upon another . . . “ as noted in section 76-6-302 of the Utah State Code, the charges would then be increased to aggravated robbery or armed robbery, a first degree felony.

Items of little worth

The motive for the robbery is unknown – whether or not the teens were getting back at another person for a transgression or if the teens simply wanted to gain possession of the stolen items. Regardless, revenge or the monetary value of the stolen items in the robbery are of little worth compared to the possibility of lengthy prison terms and fines up to $10,000 if the teens are tried as adults. For more information on felony charges for teens and how the legal system works regarding juvenile crime, contact a criminal defense attorney who handles cases involving teens or adults.

Utah School Resource Officer Fires Weapon into Car Full of Teenagers

A Utah school resource officer fired his weapon into a car full of teenagers in West Valley City after the teen driver accelerated his vehicle into the officer.

Situation escalated

The resource officer of a West Valley City high school was patrolling the surrounding neighborhood when he spotted a car full of boys who looked to be high school age. As he approached the car, possibly to check to see if the boys were ditching class, the officer could smell marijuana coming from the vehicle. He continued to advance toward the vehicle when the car suddenly lurched forward and hit the officer, sending him onto the hood of the vehicle. It was at that point the school resource officer chose to fire his weapon into the car full of teens, critically injuring the young driver.

Split second decisions

While the teenage driver fights for his life in the hospital, the passengers who have been identified as two students and a (possibly young) “adult” are being located and questioned in the incident. As the investigation continues, some Utah residents are questioning whether or not the officer’s use of potential deadly force was justified. Although a vehicle can be considered a deadly weapon when used to hurt someone- is that what happened? Was the teen trying to run the officer over with his vehicle or did he become startled and react by pressing the accelerator? Did the officer truly fear for his life when the car lunged forward or did he become startled and react by reaching for his firearm? Another concern from residents is whether or not the situation was dire enough for the officer, who is trained to protect students, to put the vehicle’s passengers in danger.

Teen behavior around law enforcement

Whether it is determined that the officer’s actions were justified or that his actions were extreme for the circumstances, there is still a teen who is left with life threatening injuries. As tension continues to grow between the general public and law enforcement, teens should be taught to always refrain from drastic or aggressive actions towards police for the sake of their own safety. If disagreements or concerns arise during police questioning or an arrest, it is best for teens to handle themselves in a calm manner and request the accompaniment of an attorney.