Skydiver injured trying spin move

ERDA, Tooele County — A skydiver practicing near the Tooele Valley Airport accidentally crashed to the ground and suffered critical injuries Monday.

About 1:30 p.m. some skydivers were doing some maneuvers in which they spin and at the last minute level the parachute out, Tooele County sheriff's deputy Keith Borders said.

"He was spinning and did not quite level out and hit the ground going about 15 to 20 miles per hour," he said.

The man, 47, landed on his back and suffered pelvic and spinal injuries.

"He was conscious but in a lot of pain," Borders said.

The man was flown to Intermountain Medical Center in critical condition, according to Borders.

The man had a flight camera on his helmet and appeared to be an experienced skydiver.

— Ethan Thomas

S.L. County settles excessive force suit

Salt Lake County will pay $60,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged sheriff's deputies used excessive force during the 2007 investigation of a noise complaint at a home.

Deputies went to the home to check on a 16-year-old boy who complained over the phone to a friend that his parents and their guests were so loud he couldn't sleep. The friend called police.

Five adults in the home were drinking alcohol while working on a video presentation for work.

The boy's father, Stephen M. Perry, refused to let police inside without a warrant. Deputies used pepper spray to subdue Perry and guests, John Gitlin and Marika Barber, who are married. Officers also used a Taser on Gitlin and Barber.

All three were charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with an arrest and assault on police, but were acquitted by a jury.

The three sued six deputies, contending they used excessive force and that their warrantless search was unlawful.

Gitlin said he didn't pursue the lawsuit for money.

"I just hope the next time the police show up somewhere and operate outside the source of their jobs, there will be some policy to remedy that," he said.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson said an internal affairs investigation found no violation of policies by the officers.

An attorney for the county said settling the lawsuit is not an admission of guilt or liability by the county or the officers.

— Associated Press

Pardons board keeps rapist in jail

POINT OF THE MOUNTAIN — Utah's Board of Pardons and Parole will keep a Box Elder County man convicted of raping a 6-year-old girl in prison for the rest of his life.

Board spokesman Jim Hatch says the board voted unanimously last week to deny Stanley Allen Smith an opportunity for parole and imposed a prison term of "natural life." Smith had a parole hearing on May 9.

In 1993 a jury convicted Smith of aggravated kidnapping, sodomy of a child and rape of a child, all first-degree felonies. The girl was taken at knifepoint from a playground in Corrine and raped.

A judge initially sentenced Smith to four consecutive terms of 15 years to life. The Utah Supreme Court reduced the sentence on appeal.

Utah law gives the parole board the final say on prison terms.

— Associated Press

Teen pleads in case from Sear's killing

A teenager who encouraged his cousin to shoot and kill another teen in the parking lot of a Sears store has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

Alexis Rodriguez initially faced multiple first-degree felonies for the Jan. 6, 2007, death of Diego Mendoza, 16. Last week he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree felony attempted murder. A firearms charge was dropped.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 10 in 3rd District Court. The charge carries a possible penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Rodriguez, 18, and Luis Salazar Mendoza, 24, were at a taco stand when they got into an argument about race and gang involvement with Diego Mendoza and two other men. Diego Mendoza suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene. A second man, Eder Orona, was shot and wounded, but survived.

Luis Salazar Mendoza, who is not related to the victim, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and attempted murder with injury, both first-degree felonies, for shooting Orona. He was sentenced in March to a prison term of 30 years to life.

Michelle Ramirez, 24, who served as a getaway driver for Rodriguez and Luis Salazar Mendoza, was sentenced last year to 78 days in the county jail and deportation for her role in the shooting.

— Associated Press

Moab man guilty of fraud, tax charges

A Moab businessman faces up to 20 years in prison after a jury found him guilty on five criminal charges Friday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. A jury found Jerry C. Huff guilty of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and two counts of failure to file taxes.

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"Mr. Huff's submission of false documents to a mortgage lender is typical of the fraud that almost brought our financial lending industry to its knees last year," said Special Agent Paul Camacho, Las Vegas IRS Criminal Investigations.

IRS and FBI investigators say Huff bilked a bank out of about $250,000 when he misrepresented a construction project to take out a second mortgage. The appraisal supporting the loan falsely represented the project as complete, according to FBI officials.

Huff altered photos of the project and presented them to the lender creating the perception that the unfinished project was actually complete, even fully landscaped, and, therefore, worth much more money. Besides providing bogus pictures with his loan application, Huff included fake copies of federal tax returns for two years in which prosecutors determined Huff didn't file taxes.

— Jacob Hancock