Man charged with Rape in Utah a Flight Risk

A judge issued a warrant for a man charged with rape in Utah after Homeland Security determined him to be a flight risk.  Saudi Arabian native Monsour Alshammari was arrested earlier this year in Orem, Utah.  He is facing a first-degree felony for rape and a second-degree felony for obstruction of justice for an incident that happened in February 2015.

Photo by Donald Lee Pardue

Photo by Donald Lee Pardue

A horrible first date

On February 25th a woman came to police claiming that Alshammari had raped her at his Orem, Utah apartment.  The night of the offense, they were coworkers on a first date.  After finding a local coffee shop and liquor store closed, they went back to Alshammari’s apartment.  While there, Alshammari tried to offer the 20 year old victim drugs.  When she refused, Alshammari held her down against her will and even amidst her protests, proceeded to rape her.  Although Alshammari denied the claims, evidence along with testimony from the victim led police to arrest Alshammari and file the felony charges on March 26th.

A Royal Flight Risk

Five days later on March 31st Alshammari posted his $100,000 bail and fled Utah.  Not only did Alshammari leave Utah, he was on his way to the Mexico border.  A Utah judge issued a warrant for Alshammari after his departure when Homeland Security realized that he was a flight risk.  The reason he was considered a flight risk was because Alshammari is a Saudi Arabian native with ties to their Royal Family.  The U.S. has no treaty for extradition with Saudi Arabia, so if Alshammari was released and made it back to Saudi Arabia it would be impossible to extricate him back to the United States. Fortunately, Mexican authorities were able to detain Alshammari at the Mexico border on Friday before he left the United States.  He is now being held at a San Diego detention center.  He should be transported back to Utah in the next few weeks to await his trail in jail without the opportunity to post bail again.

Reasons bail is denied or revoked

According to the Media Guide to the Utah State Court, “The right to bail is not absolute. Probationers, parolees, and repeat felons, who commit a crime while released on another case, may be denied bail. Capital felony defendants may be denied bail if there is substantial evidence that the defendant committed the offense. Risk to the community and flight risk are factors judges may consider in denying bail.” Alshammari had originally been given the option for bail, which he had paid in full before leaving Utah.  Had the authorities previously known, or pieced together the fact that he was a foreign student with the backing of a non-compliant county, he would not have been given the option for bail in the first place.  Since Alshammari is not a U.S. citizen, his chances of fleeing to his home country are high.  Likewise, considering that had no problem with walking away from the 100 grand that was posted was a red flag as well.  That communicated to authorities that he had no intentions of staying for his prosecution, therefore his bail was revoked.

The long wait to sentencing or trial

In cases like Alshammari’s, it is understandable why he might be seen as a flight risk.  His violent crime and the fact that he was a citizen of another country with friends in high places made it very unlikely that he was going to stick around for a trial.  Unfortunately, there are often times when defendants are seen as a flight risk when they believe they are not.  This can be frustrating for those who are left to wait in jail for weeks to months when they could try to continue on with their normal lives as long as possible. This is why it is important to have a good criminal defense attorney to plead your case before the judge so you can await your sentencing or trial in the comforts of your own home. Don’t be left serving more time than necessary for your crime. Contact a criminal defense attorney today.

Southern Utah woman arrested for Child Abuse

Party of one

A southern Utah woman was arrested for child abuse Friday when police found her passed out drunk while her 1 year old baby wandered unattended.  26 year old Amanda Lee Gardner was staying at The Rodeway Inn in southern Utah, where it appears she consumed a large quantity of alcohol and left her 1 year old daughter to roam the hotel.

Photo by: Christina Welsh

Photo by: Christina Welsh

Sick baby, drunk mom

The one year old baby girl was found alone by other patrons of the hotel after 10pm at night.  She was wandering around on the outside balcony of the second story and was acting very ill.  She was vomiting and obviously needed medical care.  Police were called and when they located Gardner she was intoxicated on the floor, and difficult to arouse.  Police then contacted an ambulance and CPS.

Treated, then arrested for child abuse

Both baby and Gardner were taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center.  The baby girl was dehydrated and had hypothermia but has made a full recovery.  She has been taken into Child Protective Services until further notice.  Gardner was released from the hospital, arrested, and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah.  She is facing charges of child abuse of a disabled child because of her neglecting a child of such a young age.  This charge is a third-degree felony.

Next time get a sitter

Amanda Lee Gardner has history of alcohol offenses in southern Utah, but no known charges of child abuse.  She was ordered to get help in the past for her addiction, but it appears that alcohol still has control of her life.  It is unknown as to why she was at the hotel with her daughter and if she was drinking alone.  Although no child should be left in the care of a negligent parent, proper rehabilitation for Gardner could eventually make her fit to parent her child again.  With an understanding and intelligent criminal defense attorney, those facing child abuse charges while under the influence of alcohol can regain control of their lives again.

Utah Felony Drug Cases May Be Dismissed

Police Chief pleads the 5th

10 felony drug cases in Escalante Utah may be dismissed as former police Chief Kevin Worlton refused to testify in court. Worlton objected to the subpoena to testify in the drug cases, stating that the information he would provide would likely incriminate him.

Photo: Greg Willis

Photo: Greg Willis

Losing the trust of a town

As the only police chief for a town of less than 1,000 people Kevin Worlton wore the badge of trust and respect exclusively. He was solely responsible for serving and protecting the small town of Escalante Utah. Worlton betrayed the trust of those he protected by falsifying documents to acquire search and arrest warrants during an investigation. These fabrications supported the arrest of 6 people.

The investigation and lies begin

In December 2014, then police Chief Kevin Worlton began an investigation on drug use and distribution in Escalante Utah. Starting his investigation, Worlton came to the home of a suspected drug user. He instigated a conversation with the female suspect in which she divulged details that incriminated her. This implicating information the subject provided allowed Worlton to gain a warrant for a blood and urine sample. During this exchange the subject was speaking freely and had not been read her Miranda rights prior to this interaction. However, later when Worlton was seeking warrants to search other Escalante homes, he stated that she had been read her Miranda rights preceding her statements. An audio recording of this conversation verified that was false.

The lies continue

By using information from the first subject, Worlton obtained search warrants for other homes. At one of these homes, Worlton questioned another female suspect inquiring if contacts of hers were selling marijuana. Even though the subject indicated that she didn’t know, Warlton changed her statement in documents to make it seem that she had in fact named her acquaintances as drug distributors. The charges for those contacts went from a simple possession charge to a third-degree felony of distribution because of Worlton’s altered information. Unfortunately for Warlton, this conversation was also being recorded and showed his documented information as being false.

Arrests made based on deceptive information

With the facts Warlton obtained in his investigation mingled with the phony information he added, 6 individuals were arrested. The charges against these people ranged from class B misdemeanors to first-degree felonies. 4 of those arrested have already pleaded guilty to their charges. Conveniently for Warlton, he waited days after the 4 subjects had pleaded guilty to turn in his police reports with the fabricated information.

Charges against the former officer

As evidence of his wrongdoings came to light, Worlton was placed on temporary paid administrative leave in January 2015. Worlton was later terminated from his position as sole police chief of Escalante Utah. Not only did he lose his job, his dishonesty earned him 2 second-degree felonies for making false statements on police reports and a class B misdemeanor for not keeping his reports in order. Although he will not appear in court to testify in the 10 felony cases, he will appear in court on May 21 for his own charges.

Professional legal advice for drug charges

The 4 individuals that have already pleaded guilty to the drug charges will hopefully have their pleas withdrawn. Any information obtained in Worlton’s investigation to charge the 6 individuals is tainted because of his deceitfulness with documented information. This along with his refusal to testify may get all 10 felony cases thrown out. This experience is an excellent example of why being knowledgeable about your rights is imperative, especially before you appear in court. If you are facing drug charges, call an educated criminal defense attorney to study the facts and ensure that your charges are not the result of falsified information.