Authorities are being extremely secretive about the beating death of a Cedar City man whose body was found Wednesday in a desolate area beside I-15 near Kanosh, Millard County.
Michael Anthony Archuleta, 26, was arrested Friday afternoon, and Lance Conway Wood, 20, was arrested Friday morning at the Iron County Jail, the sheriff's office said in a prepared statement.Both men are in the Millard County Jail on capital homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and car theft charges.
Though Fillmore Justice of the Peace Ron Hare ordered the entire criminal case sealed, the Millard County sheriff's office was allowed to release the names of the men charged in the slaying of Gordon Ray Church.
Hare said he signed a gag order Friday afternoon prohibiting prosecutors and law enforcement officers from discussing the case. He said he has also ordered the criminal information sealed.
The justice of the peace, however, would not say why he issued the secretive orders in a case that is usually open to the public. "I can't comment on that. I would be violating my own gag order."
Deputy sheriffs, acting on an anonymous tip, early Wednesday found the body of Church, 28, Cedar City, about a half-mile from Exit 138 on I-15. Evidence at the scene and information from the source indicate the killing was at least partially sex-related, said Millard County Sheriff Ed Phillips.
A tire iron and a car jack found at the scene near the body were believed used in the killing, officials said. An autopsy on Church, a theater arts major at Southern Utah State College, determined he died of massive head injuries.
The two men, one of whom was described by Sheriff's Capt. Robert Dekker as possibly a transient from Utah County, were charged in the bludgeoning death, which officials said occurred between Monday and early Tuesday.
Wood was arrested in Iron County Jail where he was being held for a parole violation. The hometowns of the defendants were not released.
Millard County officials were criticized for their handling of the August 1985 Sharon Sant murder case, in which an SUSC coed was hacked to death. Charges against one of the men charged in the ax murder were dropped in exchange for his testimony. It was later determined he helped dismember the woman's body. His cohort was convicted of second-degree murder.