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.

Teen Joyriding in Stolen Vehicle Arrested After Rollover in Salt Lake City

One teen was transported to the hospital and another arrested after rolling a stolen vehicle in Salt Lake City in what could have been a dramatic end to a fast-paced joyriding trip.

Unlawful driving ends in rollover

Photo by: Eric Starck

Late Wednesday night police officers observed a stolen vehicle exceeding the speed limit in downtown Salt Lake City with its headlamps off. After requesting the driver of the vehicle to pull over, the young motorist continued at a high rate of speed, rolling the vehicle shortly after. A teenage girl in the car was taken to the hospital. The 15 year old driver was arrested for charges that could include joyriding or felony theft of a vehicle.

Felony theft of a motor vehicle

In some states, the theft of a motor vehicle is considered grand larceny or vehicle theft. Utah does not categorize vehicle theft in its own category, but instead classifies the crime and punishment depending on the value of an item stolen. According to Utah Code 76-6-412, “theft of property and services . . . is punishable:

• As a second degree felony if the:
o value of the property or services is or exceeds $5,000;
o property stolen is . . . an operable motor vehicle [regardless of vehicle value] . . .”

Joyriding

Not all teens who joyride in another person’s vehicle will face felony charges. There is a difference between felony theft of a vehicle and taking someone else’s car for a spin around the block without their permission. While felony theft of a vehicle is punishable as a second-degree felony, joyriding or “unauthorized control for extended time” could be punishable as a misdemeanor. Utah Code 41-1a-1314 states “. . . is a class A misdemeanor for a person to exercise unauthorized control over a motor vehicle that is not his own, without the consent of the owner or lawful custodian and with the intent to temporarily deprive the owner or lawful custodian of possession of the motor vehicle.” If the vehicle is damaged however, joyriding is then punishable as a third-degree felony.

To borrow or keep?

Since the vehicle driven by the teen was completely totaled in the accident, the teen is likely to face felony charges. Will the teen face second-degree felony theft of a motor vehicle or third-degree joyriding resulting in property damage? It all depends on whether or not the teen planned on giving the vehicle back within 24 hours of taking it. For more information on teen crimes related to theft or borrowing property without permission, contact a juvenile defense attorney.

Felony Charges for Teen Who Received Stolen Firearm

A Utah teen is facing felony charges after receiving a stolen firearm in a drug trade.

Risky business

Photo by: Vulcan Rider

18 year old Matthew Ortega was arrested after a stolen firearm he had received in trade of drugs was linked back to him by the gun owner. Ortega, who had acquired the stolen weapon previously, had posted the gun for sale online where it was seen by the original owner. Law enforcement officers were notified and contacted Ortega, who came clean about how he had acquired the weapon. The firearm had been stolen a few weeks before by another individual and although Ortega was not involved in the burglary of the firearm, he is facing theft charges for receiving stolen property.

Receiving stolen property

When someone is the knowing recipient of stolen property, they may be charged with theft according to Utah Code 76-6-408 which states: “A person commits theft if he receives, retains, or disposes of the property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it probably has been stolen, or who conceals, sells, withholds or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding the property from the owner, knowing the property to be stolen, intending to deprive the owner of it.” Section 76-6-412 adds that “Theft of property and services as provided in this chapter is punishable:

(a) As a second degree felony if the:
(i) Value of the property or services is or exceeds $5,000;
(ii) Property stolen is a firearm or an operable motor vehicle; or
(iii) Property is stolen from the person of another”.

Since Ortega was just the recipient of the stolen firearm (ii) and that firearm wasn’t taken from another person, but from off their property (iii), he is facing a reduced charge of third degree felony theft. This lesser but still felony charge is likely due to the value of the firearm being between “$1,500 [to] $5,000” as stated in Section 76-6-412.

Legal purchases only

Since Ortega is 18 years old and legally an adult, he will face charges in district court and he could face up to five years in prison. Teens and young adults who purchase items from friends or acquaintances should ensure the items sold are the legal possessions of those listing them for sale. If the buyer has a hunch the items are stolen, they should trust that hunch and not participate in the deal. Teens under the age of 18 or those older who are restricted from owning firearms should refrain from buying or otherwise obtaining a gun to avoid related criminal charges. For more information on charges related to firearms, contact a knowledgeable attorney.

Two Arrested For “Inside Job” Robbery of Phone Store in Utah

Two individuals including an 18 year old from Las Vegas were arrested for an ‘inside job’ robbery of a phone store in Hurricane, Utah.

Prepaid phones and cash

Photo by: Cat

18 year old Jakob Grogan of Las Vegas, Nevada entered a Metro PCS phone store in Hurricane, Utah and stole phones and cash while pointing a gun at the person working in the store. After Grogan fled the scene, the store attendant called police and was able to give an accurate description of the suspect. That description later led to his arrest of the robbery suspect and the store attendant.

Smooth criminals

Police patrolling the streets of a nearby town in southern Utah pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation and discovered the suspect, Grogan sitting in the passenger seat of the car. Officers were able to match Grogan to the very detailed description given by the phone store employee who just so happened to be the driver of the car Grogan was a passenger in. Both robbery suspect and robbery victim were arrested.

Two arrested, reduced charges

18 year old Grogan was originally facing several charges including armed robbery which is a first degree felony until it was determined that the victim was actually an accomplice to the crime. Following that knowledge, the charges against Grogan were all reduced. He now faces one third degree felony for possession of a firearm by a restricted person along with a handful of misdemeanor charges. The victim/accomplice was arrested for three class A misdemeanors including obstruction of justice.