KEARNS — Police say a man with a history of mental illness slit his mother's throat Friday morning.
The incident began about 5:30 a.m. when Jon Winter, 38, showed up at his mother's house, 5586 S. Le Chateau (5760 West). Winter has a history of clear "diminished mental capacity," which has created ongoing problems with his family, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
Two weeks ago, Winter was kicked out of the house. When Winter's 60-year-old mother, Edna Hakala, went outside to get into her car Friday morning, Winter was there and took her back inside.
Winder said it appeared the man had intentions of holding Hakala hostage because officers found several rolls of newly purchased duct tape.
"The appearance is he came with ill intent. Had the officers not been here and interjected, we'd have had a bigger problem," the sheriff said.
Winter's adult sister was also in the house. She woke up, saw what was happening and called 911 about 8:45 a.m. Unified police officers were already saturating the area because of an unrelated graffiti problem overnight. Officers responded to the residence immediately, Winder said.
"The officer gets out, the garage door opens, and there is a male who is blood-covered and wielding an ax," Winder said, adding that the officers then ordered the man multiple times to drop the ax before they deployed a Taser. "He continues to advance on officers. He is Tased not once, but three times because the first two were seemingly ineffective. After the third Tasing, he goes down and is taken into custody."
Neighbor Steve Bird witnessed the incident from across the street.
"That's when I seen him holding the ax. And they were yelling at him to drop it," Bird said. "He would not budge. He just had a crazed look in his eye. He kept coming towards them a little bit, but not at a fast, aggressive type. But it was a scary look on his face that was concerning.
"It was about eight minutes of them yelling to drop the ax. They Tased him once. He just reached up, ax in one hand, and tore 'em off — didn't even phase him," he said.
When officers went inside the house, they found Hakala with her throat slit. She was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. Bird said he watched the woman walk out of the house on her own power, with the assistance of officers, before paramedics put her on a stretcher.
Neighbors told detectives that the issue between Winter and his family had been an ongoing problem. But Winder said police had been called to the residence only a few times.
Winter was also transported to the hospital after the stun gun was deployed. He was later booked into Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping, assault on a police officer, interfering with an arresting officer and interrupting a communication device.
Contributing: Rich Piatt
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