Three charged in beating of Vernal man taken into custody

Published: Saturday, June 1 2013 7:00 p.m. MDT

Three people facing charges in connection with the May 15 beating of a Vernal man that left him in coma have been arrested by officers in Salt Lake and Uintah counties.

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TAYLORSVILLE — Three people facing charges in connection with the May 15 beating of a Vernal man that left him in coma have been arrested by officers in Salt Lake and Uintah counties.

Emmett Rey Duncan Jr., Megan Murray and Eric Lee Welsh face charges in 8th District Court of aggravated assault and theft in the attack on Johnny Jessie Maez, 32. The charges are second-degree felonies.

Duncan was taken into custody by the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team at the Callaway Apartments, 1141 W. 3900 South, early Saturday morning.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said when police arrived at the apartment, "they were able to make contact there and got two adults and two children out of the apartment, but Duncan refused to come out."

Police evacuated surrounding apartments and called in a SWAT team, but Duncan refused to leave, Hoyal said. Shortly before 6 a.m., officers deployed tear gas and Duncan was taken into custody without further incident, Hoyal said.

Murray was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Saturday for investigation of aggravated assault, theft and public intoxication. Details of her arrest were not immediately available.

Meanwhile, Roosevelt police took Welsh into custody Saturday afternoon, said Roosevelt police detective Pete Butcher.

Authorities are also seeking a 17-year-old boy suspected of taking part in the assault.

Maez, 32, was getting gas at convenience store at the Duchesne County-Uintah County line when Murray drove up in a rented car, according to court documents. Duncan, Welsh and a teenage male — each dressed in red — got out of the car and approached Maez.

Maez, who was wearing blue, saw the three coming toward him and fled to nearby truck that was driven by his wife. He grabbed a handgun from the truck and attempted to load it, witnesses said.

One of his pursuers took the gun from Maez and began striking his head with it, the charges state.

Maez also was hit and kicked, according to the charges. Witnesses told officers that Murray got out of the car she had rented and "shouted words of encouragement to the assailants."

One of the men "jumped completely off the ground and landed with both feet on (Maez's) head, smashing it into the ground," a witness told the Deseret News.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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