SALT LAKE CITY — Criminal charges were filed Friday against a man accused of terrorizing a Herriman neighborhood by shooting a homeowner and firing at police, leading to a weeklong manhunt.
In addition, several members of Justin Gary Llewelyn's family were also charged Friday with trying to help him avoid being arrested by police.
Llewelyn, 33, of Herriman, is charged in 3rd District with two counts of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, all first-degree felonies; criminal mischief, a third-degree felony; and failing to stop at the command of a law enforcer, a class A misdemeanor.
In addition, Tasha Rae Llewelyn, 50 — Justin Llewelyn's mother — and Misty Nichole Case Llewelyn, 25 — Justin Llewelyn's sister-in-law — were charged Friday with obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony. Both are from Riverton.
On Jan. 20, a Unified police officer who was investigating a possible car burglar in the area of 13400 S. Mountain View Corridor got into a foot chase with Llewelyn. As he was running after him, the officer heard multiple shots fired, according to charging documents.
A short time later, police say Llewelyn shot at another officer called as backup near 13469 S. Dragonfly Lane (4835 West). That officer then returned fire. Investigators later found a bullet hole in the officer's patrol car and two more in other vehicles in the parking lot, the charges state.
After running from that officer, Llewelyn then broke into the nearby home of Steve Smith, the charges state. Smith, who was awoken by the sound of breaking glass, went to investigate the noise and told police he found Llewelyn in his garage trying to steal a car.
Llewelyn yelled at him, asking where his car keys were, according to the charges. As Smith attempted to shut the door, he heard two gunshots.
"Mr. Smith suffered a gunshot wound to his chest and two other entry wounds to his chest, possibly from bullet fragments," the charging documents say.
An extensive search for Llewelyn was conducted in Herriman, and police searched at least two homes belonging to his relatives who live in the area.
Police believe that on Jan. 20, while the intense manhunt was underway, Tasha Llewelyn received a call from her son who said, "Come, I need help," and she picked him up at one location and drove him to another, according to the charges.
Prosecutors say she later lied to police, telling them she had not seen her son in several weeks.
Detectives found several text messages on Tasha Llewelyn's phone sent to other family members, however, stating, "SWAT is going door-to-door, just don't say anything" and another suggesting she had dropped him off at her daughter's house and that someone else was coming to help him, the charging documents say.
"(Tasha) Llewelyn admitted she spoke with (her daughter) that morning and told (her) that Justin was in trouble and asked if he could come to her house. Llewleyn admitted to lying to police officers in prior conversations," according to the court documents.
Misty Llewleyn initially lied to police who had questioned her about whether she had seen Justin Llewelyn, her brother-in-law, according to investigators. She later confessed she had lied to police and told other family member to also lied, charges state. A text message allegedly sent from Misty Llewelyn to another family members said: "If police call, we haven't seen him."
Llewelyn's aunt, Keria Jessica Hartley-Johnson, 35, was charged in January with with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony; and retaliation against a witness or informant, a third-degree felony. She allegedly drove Llewelyn from Herriman to a hotel in Springville, bought him a new cellphone, and was making plans to take him to Beaver Dam, according to charging documents.
Investigators allege in new court documents that while at the Springville hotel, Justin Llewelyn had "a gun and a 'bag of bullets.'"
On Jan. 24, Llewelyn was spotted by the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Force — a team consisting of U.S. marshals, Unified police and other local agencies — in a stolen pickup truck at Bicentennial Park, 1600 E. 1440 South, in Provo.
The ensuing 20-minute, 10-mile chase on U.S. 89 through Springville into Spanish Fork ended when a Utah County sheriff's deputy used his vehicle to stop Llewelyn, resulting in a crash.
A $1 million bond is attached to Llewelyn's latest charges.
Llewelyn already faces charges of theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; drug possession, a third-degree felony; possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor; and driving on a suspended license, a class C misdemeanor, for crimes he allegedly committed before the shooting.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Friday that making sure Llewelyn does not get back on the street anytime soon is a top priority for him.2 comments on this story
"I can absolutely tell you that no one in our community, no one in law enforcement, and certainly no one in our office is taking this lightly. We believe the charges are warranted and we are going to prosecute these as aggressively as we can because we think he is a person who is a risk to our community and continues to be a risk to our community," he said. "Our goal is to make sure this individual does not pose a risk to the community for a long time."
Llewelyn's criminal history extends over the past 15 years with prior convictions for aggravated assault, attempted aggravated assault, felony drug possession, DUI, burglary of a vehicle, joyriding, theft by deception, retail theft, attempted theft and several other offenses, according to court records.