Aggravated Kidnapping for Man Holding Own Family Hostage

Aggravated Kidnapping Man Holds Family Hostage

Photo: Evans-Amos/Wikimedia Commons

A man who was arrested last month after a tense police standoff has been charged with aggravated kidnapping among numerous other felony and misdemeanor charges. The man had been holding his family hostage with a box cutter.

Not His First Run-in With the Law

According to a report from KSL News, on Tuesday, Feb. 24, Keaton Darrell Yeates, 24, was arrested after forcing his way into his parents’ home after they refused to take him to see his ex-girlfriend. The charging documents filed in Third District Court on Friday, March 6, stated that Yeates smashed his head through a wall and then broke down a door. He then forced his mother, sister, and two of his sister’s male friends into one of the bedrooms and told them they couldn’t leave, wielding a box cutter. The box cutter is what turned the charge from regular kidnapping to aggravated kidnapping.

One of the male friends received a cut from Yeates when the friend tried to stop Yeates from harming himself with the box cutter. The incident led to a police standoff, and when Yeates went to a window to speak with the police, everyone but the mother was able to escape. Officers were able to get into the home and subdue a resisting Yeates.

The final charges were five counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of assaulting an officer, aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult, aggravated assault, two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, child abuse, interfering with an arresting officer, and two counts of criminal mischief.

This isn’t Yeates’ first run-in with the law. In October, Yeates was arrested for smoking marijuana and being in possession of oxycodone while visiting his grandmother at a nursing home.

[For more information, click “Man Arrested for Marijuana Possession in a Retirement Center”]

Aggravated Kidnapping a First Degree Felony

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-5-302, in Yeates’ case, aggravated kidnapping occurs “if the actor [Yeates] in the course of committing unlawful detention or kidnapping … possesses, uses, or threatens to use a dangerous weapon.”

Aggravated kidnapping is a first degree felony, the most serious of the felony charges, punishable by five years-to-life in prison. If the suspect actually causes serious bodily injury to another or has a previous grievous sexual offense, they could be sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

If you or someone you know has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, don’t leave “life” in the hands of a public defender (especially life without parole). Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will look out for your best interests.

Marijuana Cultivation, Other Felony Charges for Spanish Fork Couple

marijuana cultivation for Spanish Fork couple

Photo: A7nubis/Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, Feb. 26, a husband and wife in Spanish Fork were arrested on suspicion of marijuana cultivation for an operation set up in a shed on their property. The couple was booked into the Utah County Jail and is being investigated for numerous other felony and misdemeanor offenses.

That’s Why You Buy an RV

In the popular AMC television drama “Breaking Bad,” the main characters obtain a large RV which they drive to the middle of the desert and produce methamphetamines. One of the reasons they do this is the smell produced by the chemical reactions required to manufacture the drug. Edwin and Valerie Steward of Spanish Fork would’ve been wise to heed this bit of plot.

According to a report from KSL News, detectives performed a walk-by of the Steward residence on Saturday, Feb. 21, after receiving a tip that the couple was growing marijuana on their property. According to a probable cause statement, detectives picked up “the distinct odor of marijuana.”

Detectives returned Thursday with the Department of Child and Family Services on what KSL is calling “an unrelated case.” They asked for permission to search the Steward’s shed, but Valerie Steward refused to give consent. Not long after the visit, detectives observed the Stewards loading boxes into a truck “very rapid(ly).”

After the Stewards left the residence in the truck, officers performed a traffic stop and found numerous marijuana plants, soil, fertilizers, horticulture lights, and various other items used for marijuana cultivation.

Edwin Steward claimed the marijuana was for personal use. Both Stewards tested positive for THC, and Valerie Steward also tested positive for PCP. After Edwin signed a consent form, detectives found the shed to be “equipped for the cultivation of marijuana including a ventilation system.”

Apparently not a good enough one.

Two firearms were also located on the premises. When all was said and done, the couple is being investigated on suspicion of drug paraphernalia, marijuana cultivation, obstruction of justice, and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. All of the drug charges have the additional penalty dealing with the fact that the Steward’s lived in a Utah designated drug-free zone.

Marijuana Cultivation is a Felony

According to the Utah Criminal Code 57-37-8 of the Utah Controlled Substances Act as applies to the Stewards, it is “unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally; produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance.” The Utah Code lists marijuana cultivation with Schedule III or IV substances as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

However, again, the Steward’s lived in a drug-free zone. A first degree felony is punishable by five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Either way, marijuana cultivation is a very serious charge. If you or someone you know has been charged with marijuana cultivation—or any other charge—be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Don’t leave your future—or potential lack of one—in the hands of a public defender.

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.