Duo arrested in Utah/Nevada crime spree seem surprised by charges

Suspect tells her mother she's a victim, too

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 4 2012 1:00 p.m. MST

In this photo of a video screen, Angela Marie Hill, also known as Angela Atwood, puts her face in her hands as she cries after hearing the multiple charges against her during a hearing at Elko County Justice Court on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012. in Elko, Nev.

Ross Andreson, AP

ELKO, Nev. — A tearful Angela Hill seemed shocked and confused when she was informed by an Elko Justice Court judge Wednesday that she had been arrested for attempted murder.

"I don't understand what's going on," she cried.

Hill, 25, and Logan McFarland, 24, made their initial court appearances after being arrested Tuesday near the small town of Oasis, Nev., between Wendover and Wells. The two are accused of going on a crime spree that started in Utah and, according to investigators, included a carjacking in which the driver was shot in the head, a high-speed chase and a possible double homicide in Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County.

Yet Hill told her mother Wednesday she, too, is a victim of McFarland.

Denise Atwood, of Fairview, Sanpete County, said her daughter told her from her jail cell that she is innocent. She claims McFarland beat her up and when she once tried to escape to a nearby farmhouse, he held a gun to her and told her she'd die if she tried to leave.

"In my heart, I feel like he was the instigator," Atwood said of McFarland, "and he's the one that had the power in this. I still truly believe that."

However, court documents state that Hill fired the shot that struck a woman in the back of the head after the couple carjacked and kidnapped her in West Wendover on Dec. 31. Hill was charged Wednesday in Elko Justice Court with attempted murder.

Other felony charges were filed Wednesday against both McFarland and Hill, including kidnapping with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and/or robbery, and committing a crime in a stolen vehicle.

Hill's bail was set at $102,000 cash only. McFarland's bail was set at $52,000 cash only. But Elko Justice Court Senior Judge Barbara Nethery informed both inmates during a brief video hearing from the jail that they each had two no-bail warrants out of Utah.

Both McFarland and Hill were charged in federal court with illegal flight to avoid prosecution. McFarland has also been charged in Sanpete County with burglarizing the Fullwood home in Mt. Pleasant.

Atwood said her daughter had a "rough start" during her teenage years.

"She overcame a heroin addiction and she has been clean off heroin for a year and a half," Atwood said. "And she met a wonderful man that entered her life."

Hill got engaged in November to the man, a Marine who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan.

"She just got engaged and was so happy. She's been with the same man that we consider family for a year and a half," Hill's mother said.

Hill even spent time with her fiancé and his family in Moroni over the Christmas holiday. "Then what happened after that, none of us really understand or know," Atwood said.

Hill called her father on Dec. 29 and said "very strangely" that she "wasn't going to be with" her fiance any more and then hung up.

"Then my husband continued to keep calling and a man got on the phone, which we found out was Logan McFarland, and he told my husband, 'If you come looking for your daughter, you'll be looking down a barrel of a shotgun,'" Atwood said, adding that she and her husband do not know McFarland.

Neither inmate wore handcuffs Wednesday as they sat in a back room of the Elko County Jail during the video proceedings. Hill wore a blue jumpsuit and sat with her arms and legs folded as she waited for the judge to begin. She seemed genuinely surprised when Nethery informed her she was being held for investigation of attempted murder. She bent her chest into her knees while sitting, and cried.

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