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Man pleads not guilty in LDS Church Office Building BASE jump

Published: Monday, Jan. 31 2011 12:26 p.m. MST

Marshall W. Miller arrives at the Salt Lake Justice Court Monday, Jan. 31, 2011 for his arraignment for base jumping off the LDS Church Office Building. Miller plead not guilty to the charges.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The first of two men cited after BASE jumpers parachuted off the LDS Church Office Building in November pleaded not guilty to two infractions on Monday.

Marshall Miller, 32, and Hartman Rector, 28, were cited for one count each of criminal trespass and one count of disturbing the peace. Miller appeared at an arraignment Monday morning in Salt Lake City Justice Court, where he pleaded not guilty to both infractions.

Acting Salt Lake City Prosecutor Scott Fisher said he, Miller and church representatives met before the arraignment but could not reach a deal that would have settled the matter. Judge John Baxter set a pretrial conference for March 1 at 2 p.m.

Rector's arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday. Both counts carry a base fine of $750 with surcharges that could boost the penalty to a $1,200 maximum fine for each count.

No charges have been filed against the driver of a vehicle that took the two jumpers away after they landed in an empty parking lot across the street from the Church Office Building. Fisher said he could not comment on whether additional charges could follow.

On Nov. 12, two men reportedly jumped 420 feet from the 26th-floor observation deck of the 28-story LDS Church Office Building, located at 50 E. North Temple, at 3:41 p.m.

Several witnesses described the jump and photographed the jumpers. In surveillance video released by the church, two men are seen wearing noticeably large backpacks in the elevator on their way to the upper floor. Employees within the building and passersby outside reported seeing the parachutists descend, then land in a parking lot north of the building and flee in a silver sport utility vehicle.

BASE is an acronym that stands for buildings, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs), and jumping from such locations is believed by thrill-seekers to be the ultimate extreme sport. However, it is also one of the more dangerous thrills to seek, according to death statistics related to the sport.

Several videos are posted on YouTube of "BASE legend Marshall Miller." Another YouTube video identifies jumpers Rector and Miller jumping from Poopers Point, Utah, in January 2010.

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com

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