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Orem man dies after intervening in mother-son fight, police say

Published: Thursday, June 27 2013 11:05 a.m. MDT

Strider Diem, 33, was arrested for investigation of manslaughter, assault, criminal mischief and public intoxication in connection with the death of his stepfather, Melvin Rowley, 79. Police say he assaulted Rowley during an altercation Diem was having with his mother.

Utah County Jail

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OREM — An Orem man was arrested for investigation of manslaughter Wednesday after police say he beat his elderly stepfather.

Strider Diem, 33, who lives with his mother and stepfather, arrived at home at 1615 S. 400 West about 9 p.m. Wednesday. His mother suspected he had been drinking, said Orem Police Capt. Ned Jackson.

Diem "smelled of alcohol, and had slurred speech, and was swaying in his stance," according to a police affidavit.

"He had two bottles of alcohol. She got a hold of one bottle and poured it out. That escalated the confrontation," Jackson said.

As they were arguing, Diem "poked" his mother in the nose, which prompted his stepfather, 79-year-old Melvin Rowley, to get involved. Rowley told Diem not to treat his mother like that, according to Jackson. That prompted an argument between the son and stepfather.

"The parents managed to push the son into his bedroom. He kicked the walls, busted the door, came back out," Jackson said.

The argument resumed, and Diem's parents tried to get him to leave the house. When he refused, his mother "hit him on the head with the alcohol bottle," the affidavit states.

Diem responded by striking Melvin Rowley "several times in the face, knocking him down, and then got on top of him and punched him some more," according to Jackson.

Investigators believe Diem struck Rowley with a "closed fist approximately six times," the affidavit states, and then three more times when he was on the ground.

He later told investigators that he "was upset with his mother for hitting him in the head, and stated that he could not punch her, so he took it out on Melvin," according to the affidavit.

Diem ran out of the house and rode off on a bicycle. Karin Rowley checked on her husband before running outside and telling a neighbor to call 911. Melvin Rowley told her he was OK.

But when his wife went back into the house a few minutes later, Rowley was not conscious or breathing. Jackson said Rowley was rushed by emergency crews to the hospital where doctors attempted to save him. He died about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Diem was arrested in a field near his house. He was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of manslaughter, assault with a domestic violence enhancer for the alleged attack on his mother, criminal mischief and public intoxication.

State court records indicate that Diem was previously in trouble several times with the law for stalking an ex-girlfriend.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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