A 6th Circuit judge has deferred a decision on whether to bind over for trial a man charged with vandalizing bulldozers on southern Utah's controversial Burr Trail.
After a 1 1/2-day preliminary hearing that ended Thursday, Judge David Mower asked attorneys on both sides to submit briefs on whether there was sufficient evidence against Grant Smith Johnson, 31, who is accused of sabotaging the machinery following a federal court decision permitting Garfield County to upgrade a 27-mile section of the 66-mile-long dirt road.Johnson, who has lived in the Deer Creek environmental enclave beside the Burr Trail, near Boulder, is charged with four counts of criminal mischief, a third-degree felony. He also faces felony charges of growing marijuana, possessing hallucinogenic mushrooms and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, among other charges.
Defense attorney Ron Yengich argued Thursday that the state had failed to tie Johnson to the vandalism or even to prove he was in the vicinity at the time.
He also said prosecutors had failed to support their allegations that Johnson cultivated marijuana for sale.
Mower ordered Yengich to submit motions by Aug. 14, gave Garfield County prosecutor Patrick Nolan until Sept. 14 to respond, and said he would decide whether to bind Johnson over after considering the briefs.
In testimony Thursday, Garfield County Sheriff Robert Judd said that he and another deputy found tracks around the bulldozers and followed them to the Deer Creek camp.