The prosecution has finished its arguments in a preliminary hearing for two men charged with murdering a Southern Utah State College student.
But Millard County Justice of the Peace Ronald Hare will wait for defense attorneys to file motions before ruling whether enough evidence exists to try Lance Conway Wood, 20, or Michael Anthony Archuleta, 26, on charges of capital homicide in the brutal beating death of Gordon Ray Church, 28.A court clerk said the hearing, which began Tuesday and has been closed to the public and press, will not begin again for five to six weeks.
"All the evidence has been presented and the court granted the defendants time to file motions and be briefed on those motions," said Marcus Taylor, Wood's attorney. Taylor would not disclose the nature of the motions. "I'd like to but I hesitate to discuss what I have in mind. I might get in trouble with the court. I have to follow the rules, too."
Hare refused to talk to the press about whether the motions could be made public.
The judge closed the hearing, issued a gag order and sealed all court documents relating to the slaying.
Church, 28, was found beaten to death Nov. 23 in the Dog Valley area about a half-mile south of exit 138 on I-15 near Fillmore. Evidence at the scene and other information indicate the killing was at least partially sex-related, said Millard County Sheriff Ed Phillips.
Wood and Archuleta are being held in the Millard County Jail. In addition to first-degree murder, they face felony charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and auto theft.
Witnesses were called and physical evidence was presented in the three-day hearing. The court will now take the next several weeks to prepare the transcript. After copies are distributed to prosecutors and defense attorneys, the defense will have 10 days to file their motions. The state will then have 10 days to respond before Hare rules whether Archuleta and Wood should be tried for the alleged crimes.
Taylor said he doesn't know if the motions will be made public after they are presented to the court. He said that would have to be clarified by the judge.