A southern Utah man says he needs more time to consider whether he will take a plea deal or head for trial in the case of a 2007 fatal home-invasion shooting.

Danny Dutton, Hurricane, is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a gun. The case has been the focus of debate as local authorities had ruled that Dutton's shooting of a man was considered self-defense.

According to police, Dutton shot and killed Aaron Barbosa when Barbosa and another man forced their way into Dutton's apartment on March 24, 2007. Barbosa began beating Dutton with a steel pipe and Dutton shot him.

Although the incident was ruled self-defense and state charges were dropped, federal officials charged Dutton with being a felon in possession of a gun. Dutton had been convicted earlier of felony marijuana cultivation.

During a hearing in U.S. District Court Wednesday, an attorney for Dutton said her client needed time to consider whether new information in the case, including the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling which upheld an individual's right to own a gun, would prove an effective defense if he took the case to trial.

U.S. District Judge David Sam told Dutton that the Supreme Court ruling alone had no bearing on his case because the high court also upheld laws prohibiting convicted felons from possessing guns.

Sam set a hearing for June 10 to accept Dutton's plea or set the case for trial. If convicted, Dutton faces up to 10 years in federal prison.


E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com