Sentencing was delayed in Third District Court Monday for a Salt Lake man who pled Guilty after shooting his brother at a Canyons hotel.
The judge put off a decision after a new allegation surfaced against the defendant. Although the details are unclear at this point.
The defendant, 32-year-old Christopher Leahy Head, was arrested in April. Officers reported that he, his older brother, and their families were staying at the Westgate Hotel when an argument broke out between the siblings. The defendant fired a handgun, striking the older brother in the rear.
In May, Head pled Guilty to one count of Discharge of a Firearm, and also to Possession of a Firearm by a Restricted Person.
Last Monday, his public defender David Shapiro objected that the pre-sentence report was recommending prison time. One charge would carry three to five years, the other up to five years. It would be up to Judge Patrick Corum to decide if the sentences are concurrent or consecutive.
Judge Corum noted that in the report, the older brother had said that Head had shot someone else while intoxicated.
Attorney Shapiro said that after the shooting, initial reports were that the victim wanted to help his brother, but then the 35-year-old older sibling suffered a catastrophic accident on an ATV and was hospitalized with a brain injury.
Shapiro told the judge he needs more information.
“I don’t know about that information and I don't have other to tell you. What I can tell you what I know to be true from speaking with his mother, from their mother and from everybody else; is that prior to the ATV accident where the victim sustained significant head injury, life altering head injury, prior to that his contact was I don't want to hurt my brother. I want to help him. I want to help my brother. His contact with the prosecutor was I want to come in and talk to you, I want to help my brother. Every contact, every bit of information was, I want to help my brother. Then a head injury intervenes and now there's different information. So, I don't know. In speaking with his mother my concern is significant about what his desires are. What he really wants and more importantly whether it's true.”
Deputy Prosecutor Blake Hills told KPCW that the older brother’s allegation in the report doesn’t mention a victim by name or have a date or location. He said it also appeared the brother was relating something he heard from an unknown and unnamed source.
Judge Corum said the allegation could be decisive in whether he gives the defendant prison time.
“Mr. Head look, this is important. I agree with your counsel that the recommendation based on what I've got in front of me. Absent that, without some kind of prior history, the recommendation seems a little harsh given the objective criteria that’s set forth in the matrix. So, it's important. This isn’t just a throwaway. This would have a big impact on the court's decision.”
The judge continued the sentencing to July 22nd.