Utah Teens Arrested for Aggravated Robbery of Drug Dealer

Four Utah teens were arrested for aggravated robbery of a drug dealer after demanding the illegal goods at gunpoint.

Compounding crimes

One 17 year old and three 18 year old teens were arrested in Layton, Utah after authorities were alerted they group had used a weapon to rob a drug dealer. The boys met with another 18 year old who was going to sell them THC extract. When the meeting took place, the teenage boys instead physically assaulted the dealer, pointed a gun at him, and left with the unlawful product.

Aggravated robbery

The four teens were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. Utah Code 76-6-302 states “A person commits aggravated robbery if in the course of committing robbery, he:

  1. Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon . . . ;
  2. Causes serious bodily injury upon another; or
  3. Takes or attempts to take an operable motor vehicle.

Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony”, punishable with a hefty fine and five years to life in prison.

Possible distribution charges

It took several hours for the robbery to be reported by the drug dealing teen, likely due to him fearing for his own arrest. Although he eventually got up the courage to report the crime, he also put himself at risk of facing charges himself. Distribution of marijuana products is a third degree felony as stated by Utah Code 58-37-8. Third degree felonies are punishable by up to five years behind bars.

Adult decisions

Every teen including the 17 year old involved in this deal gone bad could be facing time in prison. Had the charges not been as severe, such as a misdemeanor or even a lower felony, the youngest teen involved would ensure his case staying in the juvenile court system. Since aggravated robbery is listed in the Serious Youth Offender section of the Utah Code, he could end up being charged as an adult. Teens and barely adults who are facing serious charges should consult with an attorney who has experience in both the juvenile system as well as the district court to better handle cases that may switch from one court to another.

Colorado Teen Spend Weeks in Utah Jail for Second Degree Theft of a Vehicle

Two teens from Colorado have been charged in Utah with second degree theft of a vehicle and one teen has been unable to return home for over six weeks.

Utah traffic stop

19 year old Darrell Mitchell of Denver, Colorado and 19 year old Chanel Wideman of the neighboring suburb of Aurora, Colorado were both detained following a traffic stop south of St. George, Utah in early April. The duo were driving over twenty miles above the speed limit prompting a Utah Highway Patrol officer to initiate the stop. Once stopped, the UHP officer discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen from the Denver International Airport. A search was made on the vehicle where a stolen firearm, marijuana, and a large quantity of prescription medication was located in the vehicle as well. Mitchell and Wideman were both detained for multiple felonies including second degree felony theft of a vehicle.

Theft of a Vehicle and other felonies

During questioning, both Mitchell and Wideman claimed personal ownership of the vehicle, firearm, and drugs. Consequently, both were charged. The teens both face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges for the theft of the vehicle, drugs, and the firearm. Theft of vehicle is defined by Utah Code 76-6-412 as a second degree felony, punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The firearm by a restricted person charge is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $5,000. The drugs with intent is also a third degree felony, with an additional fine and possible prison term added.

Jailed away from home

Both of the teens broke the law and were fittingly arrested. Unfortunately however, Wideman was not financially able to pay the bail and afford the multiple trips back to Utah so she has been sitting in a Utah jail over 600 miles away from her home, family, friends, and job. Wideman would have gone home and returned for her various hearings, yet Utah courts considers her a flight risk as she resides in another state. For this reason her bail has not been reduced like it was for Mitchell, and she remains in Utah. Teens who are barely adults and are free to travel nationwide without their parents should be aware of the laws in which they visit and all the various repercussions should they be placed in jail away from home.

Utah Teens Who Stole Pride Flags May Face Hate Crime Charges Under New Law

Three teens who went around a South Jordan, Utah neighborhood stealing pride flags may face hate crime charges under a new law put into effect recently.

Stolen flags

Photo by: Elliott Brown

Several residents in South Jordan, Utah were the victims of theft when their pride flags were taken from their yards during Pride week. One resident caught the perpetrators on camera which led police to another home nearby. Inside officers discovered three teen boys who were identified from the resident’s video. Officer’s also located the stolen flags.

Theft

Charges are pending for the teens responsible but is it likely the teens will be charged with theft. According to Utah Code 76-6-412, criminal charges for theft of services or property can range from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony depending on the monetary value of the item and other variables such as previous convictions. The pride flags stolen by the teens may be of great personal value to the owners and others around that look to them as a symbol of hope and love to the LGBT community, but their monetary value isn’t high enough to warrant any felony charges.

Hate crime

While the teens shouldn’t face felony charges for theft of the flags, they could face additional misdemeanor charges if their actions are considered a hate crime. The teens were not going around the neighborhood, terrorizing random individual’s yards. They were collecting pride flags, which could be seen as a specific target. SB 103 regarding victim targeting penalty enhancement that was signed into law early April “ enacts provisions relating to sentencing for a criminal offense committed against a victim who is selected because of certain personal attributes.” If their crime could be seen as a hate crime as defined in SB 103, the boys could see enhancements to their charges. For instance, a class B misdemeanor would them become a class A misdemeanor; a class A misdemeanor would become a third degree felony; and so on.

Intent or ignorant choice

Authorities have not determined whether or not the boys intended to target the LGBT community or if they were just making ignorant choices by taking all the rainbow flags they could find. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can help ensure any youth facing charges in portrayed honestly and fairly in a court of law.

15 Year old Utah Teen Playing With Shotgun Arrested For Felony Manslaughter of Brother

A 15 year old Kearns, Utah teen was arrested for felony manslaughter after the boy was playing with a shotgun and fired a deadly shot at his step-brother.

Dangerous play

16 year old Jerrad Jacobsen and his 15 year old step-brother were in Jacobsen’s bedroom with a loaded weapon before school when Jacobsen was fatally shot in the head. The original statement from the step-brother stated Jacobsen accidentally shot himself while the step-brother was turned around but the story was later revised to affirm the 15 year old was the one with the gun. The mother of the deceased claims the shooting to be non-accidental, yet intent to kill has not been proven. Police have arrested and charged the step-brother with second degree manslaughter as well as obstruction of justice.

Manslaughter

After police again questioned the teen about the fatal incident, the step-brother admitted he was the one with shotgun. He told police he pointed the gun at Jacobsen and pulled the trigger. The teen claims it was an accident as he was unaware the gun was loaded. Even if the death was an accident, it was something that could have been avoided had the teen not been behaving in a careless manner. The 15 year old is charged with “. . . recklessly caus[ing] the death of another”, which Utah Code 76-5-205 defines as manslaughter, a second degree felony. At this time, investigators have not found evidence to support the claim that Jacobsen’s death was done on purpose. If the step-brother’s actions are found to be intentional, he could face first-degree homicide charges.

Obstruction of justice

The 15 year old step-brother is also facing a third degree felony for obstruction of justice since he initially lied to police about who had the gun when it went off. Utah Code 76-8-306 states: “An actor commits obstruction of justice if the actor, with intent to hinder, delay, or prevent the investigation, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of any person regarding conduct that constitutes a criminal offense:. . . provides false information regarding a suspect, a witness, the conduct constituting an offense, or any other material aspect of the investigation.”

Gun safety and education

This fatal incident is a reminder to all parents to teach their children about gun safety and to ensure that any firearms in the home are unloaded and out of children’s reach. Teens who may be in regular control of a firearm under a parent’s guidance should participate in a gun education course to help ensure they practice responsible behavior around firearms and know how to safely handle and unload a weapon. Any teens facing legal trouble should consult with an attorney who can help guide  them to be honest during questioning  without further incriminating themselves of a crime .

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.