Threat of Terrorism Charge for Man Threatening Provo PD

Threat of terrorism to Provo PD

Photo: Fabexplosive/Wikimedia Commons

Between Tuesday, Feb. 17 and Friday, Feb. 20, three men and one woman were arrested after allegedly making threats against the Provo Police Department. One of the men was charged with a threat of terrorism.

Don’t Write it if You Don’t Mean it. Or Maybe Just Don’t Write it.

According to KSL News, the incident that set the stage for the threat of terrorism charges was the fatal shooting of Cody Evans, 24, of Springville, on Sunday, Feb. 15. A Provo police officer and a Utah County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Evans after he pointed what they believed to be an assault rifle at them. It was later determined that Evans had two different pellet guns.

The same day Evans was killed, “concerned citizens” reported to Provo police that they had seen several threatening messages on social media, including one that read: “To provo pd. Beware of c4 and dat 50cal … I’m fed up yall killin my homies, im killin u!” Provo police said “c4” was in reference to “an explosive that has the capability to cause mass casualties and substantial property damage.” This is where the threat of terrorism comes into play.

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, Brandon Stacy West was arrested after attempting to purchase a firearm. West wasn’t the poster of the comments, however, the attempted purchase went against his probation, and he allegedly had spoken of “retaliation.”

The poster of the comments, Michael Leon Angus, also reportedly referred to a “Fletcher” and asked who else was “down to ride on these pigs,” to which Jacob Fletcher responded, “You know I am …”

Police arrested Fletcher on Wednesday, Feb. 18, on multiple felony warrants. Lindsay Parker, 25, made the third suspect to be arrested. Parker had been with Fletcher for several days, including driving him around the day they were arrested. She admitted in a police affidavit that she knew Fletcher was on the run. In addition to obstruction of justice, Parker was booked on several drug charges.

Angus was the last link in the chain, and he was arrested on Friday, Feb. 20, and booked on investigation of a threat of terrorism. In a statement released by the Provo Police Department, Angus “admitted that he had posted threatening comments about Provo police officers, but claimed he was just upset and did not intend to do anything.”

Threat of Terrorism Seriousness Depends on Circumstances

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-5-107.3, a threat of terrorism can range from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony. The misdemeanor would be “if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage,” and cause “an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies to take action due to the person’s conduct posing a serious and substantial risk to the general public.”

In the case of Angus, the fact that he mentioned the C4 explosive jumped the charges up to a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, because he threatened to use a “weapon of mass destruction” as defined in Utah Criminal Code 76-10-401.

This is not to say that Angus didn’t have a right to be upset, however, the lesson is to be aware of how you vent such strong emotions. Putting them in writing on the Internet is not the way to handle it. If you or someone you know has been charged with a threat of terrorism, don’t leave fate in the hands of a public defender. Be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Substitute Facing Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

Substitute teacher unlawful sexual activity

Photo: Chris Potter/Wikimedia Commons

Even while case of Brianne Altice, the former Davis High School teacher accused of having sex with three students, is still making headlines, another incident of a substitute teacher being charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor has come to light. The substitute is obviously no longer teaching and will face her first court appearance Feb. 17.

A Question of Circumstances

According to a report from KSL News, on Jan. 26, Mary Emily Mickelsen, 35, or Salina was charged in the Sixth District Court with eight counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. Sevier County School District Superintendent Cade Douglas stated that Mickelsen had been a substitute in the district for “a number of years,” but that she was removed from the roster in early January after the district found out about the allegations and pending charges.

According to the report, the charges against Mickelsen are only dealing with one teen at this point, but the county attorney’s office is apparently looking into whether any additional victims may be out there. Mickelsen’s attorney stated that Mickelsen did not meet the boy through her substitute teaching job, but further information hasn’t been released to confirm or deny that. Regardless of the circumstances, if true, it would still be a case of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor: Third Degree Felony in Most Cases

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-5-401, unlawful sexual activity with a minor occurs if the victim is between 14 years old and 16 years old at the time the sexual activity occurred. The code goes on to describe the activities which constitute “sexual activity,” not including rape, object rape, forcible sodomy, or aggravated sexual assault. However, sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, and the use of foreign objects for penetration all constitute this offense.

Unlawful sexual activity with a minor is a third degree felony in most cases, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the defendant can prove that there was less than four years difference in age between them and the victim at the time of the sexual activity, it considered a class B misdemeanor.

If you or someone you know has been accused of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, don’t leave your fate in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Drastic Increase in Utah Poaching Incidents Past Two Years

Utah poaching incidents increase

Photo: Agricultural Research Service/Wikimedia Commons

According to recent figures from state wildlife officials, poaching incidents in Utah have increased by more than 30 percent over the past two years. However, officials say these numbers may not be representative of what is actually happening and may still increase in the coming days.

Poaching: The Many Factors of an Often Unsolved Crime

Given recent news about a protected gray wolf shot by a hunter who allegedly claims he thought it was a coyote, the issue of poaching and shooting protected animals in general is definitely in the public eye.

According to an Associated Press article, authorities have reported that more than 1,287 animals were killed illegally in 2014, however those numbers may increase as patrolling wildlife officers find more animals. In 2013, the numbers were 958.

Because the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources relies on their officers finding the animals or getting tips on someone poaching wildlife, they estimate that the numbers are much higher if poachers are able to dispose of the body and keep the incident to themselves.

Of the poaching incidents in Utah, the largest numbers of animals are deer, who are sought for their antlers. Box Elder County wildlife officer Mike Kinghorn said the bodies are often found without their heads. Other animals on the 2014 list include elk, moose, buffalo, bears, eagles, a desert tortoise, and even a pelican.

Poaching Penalties in Utah

Poaching occurs under three main circumstances: if the animal is killed out of season, if the hunter doesn’t have a license, or the hunter takes more animals than the state allows.

Per Utah Criminal Code 23-20-4, poaching is considered “wanton destruction of protected wildlife” and ranges from a class B misdemeanor up to a third degree felony. This is determined by the value of the animal as valuated by that particular section (and whether or not the animal is considered a “trophy animal” such as a deer, in which case it is a felony).

In addition to fines and potential jail time imposed as a result of the charge, restitution is generally imposed on the offender based on a list of animals and subsequent restitution charges as found in Utah Criminal Code 23-20-4.5. For example, as a trophy animal, poaching deer would be considered a felony and have an additional minimum of $8,000 in restitution.

Poaching is a serious crime just to have a trophy on your wall. If you or someone you know has been accused of poaching, make sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will look out for your best interests.