New Public Enemy No. 1 Warrant Includes Attempted Murder, Other Charges

Attempted murder charges for Public Enemy No. 1

Photo: Unified Police Department Metro Gang Unit/KSL News

The Salt Lake City Metro Gang Unit named a new Public Enemy No. 1 on Friday, Jan. 16. The warrant for his arrest includes charges of attempted murder and felony discharge of a weapon. Currently an adult, the man has a juvenile record as well.

Not His First Charges

According to a report from KSL News, the state has issued a $50,000 warrant for Michael Steven Bonilla, 19, a member of a violent street gang. The warrant includes “six counts of attempted murder and four counts of felony discharge of a weapon.”

While investigators have said that Bonilla has been arrested as a result of assault and drug-related charges in the past, it is unclear if these counts relate to those charges. In 2013, when Bonilla was 17, he was arrested and charged with the same counts of attempted murder and discharge of a weapon with gang enhancements, as well as obstructing justice. This was in relation to a drive-by shooting in Kearns. Even though the numbers of that incident match the numbers on the current warrant, the report didn’t state if the warrant stemmed from the same incident.

What is clear is that Bonilla is currently at-large. Police have described him as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing approximately 150 pounds, with brown eyes and hair and the number “801” tattooed on the back of his head.

The Metro Gang Unit said anyone with information should contact them through the Unified Police Department at (801) 743-7000 and their calls will remain anonymous.

Attempted Murder Almost as Serious as Aggravated Murder

According to Utah Code 76-4-102, attempted murder is considered an inchoate offense, meaning a crime of preparing for or seeking to commit another crime. The attempt to commit aggravated murder, resulting in serious bodily injury, is punishable by a prison sentence of no fewer than 15 years and potentially life.

In contrast to attempted murder, the act of aggravated murder is punishable by life in prison without parole, or no less than 25 years.

Either way, these are very serious charges. If you or someone you know has been charged with attempted murder, make sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney either for legal advice or to handle your case and look out for your best interests.

Man Arrested for DUI After Hitting Sheriff’s Vehicle

DUI charges

Photo: Weber County Sheriff’s Office/KSL News

Icy roads were to blame for many accidents on Saturday, Jan. 10, but it was driving under the influence (DUI) that landed one man in jail. Other charges included drug possession and leaving the scene of an accident.

“Wrong Place at the Wrong Time” Doesn’t Mean You can Leave

According to a report from KSL News, on Saturday evening, Weber County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene of several accidents in Ogden Canyon near 4500 East, just east of the Pineview Reservoir spillway. Four vehicles had slid off the road due primarily to the icy conditions (the DUI would come shortly). Fortunately only minor injuries were reported, however, deputies were on the scene to shut down State Route 39 while road crews could put down salt and sand.

At approximately 10:40 p.m., one deputy had his patrol pickup truck parked with his overhead flashers on to stop oncoming traffic when another pickup truck came around a corner at high speed, lost control, and crashed into the back of the deputy’s vehicle. The driver of the truck sped off, and the deputy was able to pursue in the damaged vehicle, catching him near the spillway.

The driver of the truck, Bruce Southwick, was arrested for investigation of DUI, drug possession, and leaving the scene of an accident.

DUI Severity Depends on Circumstances

While most people think of a DUI as referring to alcohol, according to Utah Code 41-6a-502, a person is guilty of a DUI if he/she is driving “under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle.” Given the fact that Southwick also was charged for drug possession, this is probably the case.

The lowest charge for a DUI is a class B misdemeanor, even on a second offense. It goes up to a class A misdemeanor if the driver inflicts “bodily injury” on another, had a passenger under 16 years of age, or was 21 years of age or older with a passenger under 18 years of age. The charge jumps to a third degree felony if the driver inflicts “serious bodily injury” or has two or more prior convictions within ten years.

Even the lowest charge of a class B misdemeanor can result in jail time of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, don’t leave your defense in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will have your best interests in mind.

Theft, Other Charges for “Beer Run Bandit”

theft charges for beer run bandit

Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

A man who attempted the theft of two 18-packs of beer on New Years Eve was arrested by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. While the beer may have been for that evening’s celebrations, law enforcement officers don’t believe the man only stole from one store.

Don’t Send This Guy for Beer

Matthew Howell gives a whole new definition to the term “going on a beer run.” According to KSL News, on Dec. 31, Howell, nicknamed the “Beer Run Bandit” by police, entered a Pilot Flying J convenience store, picked up two 18-packs of Bud Light, and left the store without paying for them. Two employees saw the theft take place and followed Howell outside, where he got in a truck and locked the doors.

When one of the employees was noting the rear license plate number, Howell reversed the truck in high speed and nearly ran over the employee. However, after Howell drove away, the Weber County Sheriff’s Office was able to locate the truck in a hotel parking lot in Ogden. The deputy found Howell in one of the rooms with a female and an “extensive amount of beer” which led law enforcement to believe “the man has committed many similar crimes along the northern Wasatch Front.”

Howell was booked on suspicion of theft, aggravated assault, and aggravated robbery.

Theft Defined per Utah Criminal Code

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-4-404, theft is defined as obtaining or exercising unauthorized control over the property of another with a purpose to deprive that person of their property. However, it doesn’t have to be personal, as in taking something from someone directly. In the case of Howell, the “property” belongs to the owners of the gas station, even though they aren’t on the premises at the time of the incident.

Per Utah Criminal Code 76-4-412, theft may be charged as anything from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony depending on how the crime is carried out (as in with or without a weapon) and the property stolen. In Howell’s case, the theft would mostly likely be a class B misdemeanor for a property value less than $500. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Six months in jail is a long time over just two 18-packs of beer. If you or someone you know has been convicted of theft, don’t leave your fate in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will look out for your best interests.