Was alleged Capitol intruder's stunt a call for pot legalization?

Security questions raised following Tuesday's arrest

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23 2013 1:00 p.m. MDT

A hazardous materials response truck was parked at Weston Gerald Green's Layton house on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2013. Green is accused of driving his pickup truck up the steps of the state Capitol building on Tuesday.

Sandra Yi, Deseret News

LAYTON — Residents on his street called him the "perfect neighbor."

Weston Gerald Green, 36, of Layton, always waved to his neighbors when he left or arrived at his house. They called him "thoughtful" and say he was always available to lend a helping hand.

"He's just the nicest guy," neighbor JoAnn Sparks said. "He's there when you need something. He does his yard work."

But on Wednesday, investigators said the man who was arrested Tuesday after driving his pickup truck up the west stairs of the state Capitol in Salt Lake City also had a small marijuana growing operation in his basement.

A motive for Tuesday's incident at the Capitol was still being investigated, but investigators hinted that it may be connected. "He did tell investigators, specifically, he was up at the Capitol to promote the legalization of marijuana," said State Bureau of Investigations Capt. Tyler Kotter.

As investigators tried to learn more about Green on Wednesday, questions about security around the state Capitol were also being raised. How can a motorist simply drive a truck up the steps of the capitol, exit, and march into the building without being stopped or confronted?

Green hospitalized

Green was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon and kept overnight in a local hospital. Utah Highway Patrol Capt. Barton Blair did not disclose what he was being treated for. He also did not say whether Green was under the influence of drugs when he was tackled by Capitol security, but it was being investigated.

Once Green is released from the hospital, he is expected to be booked into jail. But there was no indication Wednesday when that might be.

Search warrants were served Tuesday night on Green's pickup and Wednesday at his house in Layton, 847 Poplar Circle. A hazardous materials response vehicle was parked in his driveway throughout the morning, and a sign posted on the front door said: "Closed by order of Davis County Board of Health."

A hydroponic marijuana garden was found in the basement of Green's home. Neighbors said they never noticed any erratic behavior from him.

"I've never seen him drunk, I've never seen him on any type of drugs or anything, not that I know of," said neighbor Brenda Oveson. "I'm shocked, absolutely shocked. Because he's just a quiet, really nice guy. Just never would have expected that from him ever."

"He always acted the same. There was never anything," added Sparks. "I just kept thinking about (the incident), because it's just not him."

The only thing that ever raised any suspicion for neighbors was that his window shades, particularly in the basement, were always closed.

Green has several DUI convictions and minor traffic violations, but no other criminal history in Utah. Neighbors say he is divorced and a young son stays with him every once in awhile. A paternity suit was also filed against Green in 2012, according to court records.

"He does not have anything in his criminal history that would cause us any suspicion of his actions (Tuesday)," Blair said.

The incident

It took about three to four minutes for the man to be taken into custody Tuesday after police say he drove his truck up the Capitol steps. Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Travis Trotta said Capitol security had an eye on him the entire time. He said a trooper watched through surveillance cameras as the truck drove up the many steps.

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