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Duchesne County man charged in hatchet attack

Published: Thursday, May 23 2013 10:25 a.m. MDT

Anthony Arlen Gardner, 25, is charged in 8th District Court with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor, in connection with the May 18, 2013, hatchet attack on a 63-year-old drinking companion. (Duchesne County Jail) Anthony Arlen Gardner, 25, is charged in 8th District Court with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor, in connection with the May 18, 2013, hatchet attack on a 63-year-old drinking companion. (Duchesne County Jail)

ROOSEVELT — A Duchesne County man has been charged with a felony after turning himself in for allegedly attacking a drinking companion with a hatchet.

Anthony Arlen Gardner was charged Wednesday in 8th District Court with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor.

Gardner, 25, walked into the Roosevelt Police Department about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, told officer Clayton Mathews he had assaulted someone with a hatchet and said he needed to turn himself in, according to charging documents.

"It took me by surprise," Mathews said Thursday. "It was shocking that he'd turn himself in for something like that. I've never had one like that before."

Gardner told Mathews the assault had taken place at a trailer home in unincorporated Duchesne County near 3000 South and 7000 West.

Duchesne County sheriff's deputy Ben Watson went to the home and found blood on the ground near the front door. The man who answered the door, Guy William Thomas, was holding a bloody towel to his mouth and "his clothing was torn near his wounds," Watson wrote.

"Guy Thomas removed the cloth, and I observed that his lip on his left side was severely lacerated, revealing his gums," the deputy wrote. "There was a skin flap hanging from his lips."

Thomas, 63, told Watson that one of the hatchet blows to his face had broken his dentures while they were in his mouth. But he also stated that he didn't want Gardner to get in trouble, according to court records.

Thomas was taken to Uintah Basin Medical Center, where an examination revealed that he had a broken nose, severe bruising on his left thigh and abdomen, and a minor laceration on his left elbow. The cut to Thomas' lip required surgery to repair, Watson wrote.

When the deputy questioned Gardner about the assault, he said he and Williams had been drinking together when Williams began "speaking vulgar" about his mother. The men argued and Gardner went out to a vehicle, retrieved the hatchet, returned to the trailer and began hitting Thomas with the weapon, Watson wrote.

"Gardner stated that he blacked out and did not remember specifics, other than he was hitting Thomas with the hatchet," the deputy wrote. Watson added that Gardner told him he has "blind rage mental illness," "blacks out," and has "spurts of anger" he cannot control.

Hospital staff told investigators that Williams was intoxicated when he was brought in, and a breath test given to Gardner nearly two hours after he first arrived at the police department showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.10, court records show, which is just above the 0.08 threshold for impairment in Utah.

Gardner was booked into the Duchesne County Jail, but posted bail Wednesday and was released. A preliminary hearing is set for June 13.

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