Criminal Charges Filed in Death of Sgt Bill Hooser

PRESS CONFERENCE -- May 14, 2024

State of Utah v. Michael Aaron Jayne

• First, I would like to express my sincere condolences to Sgt. Bill Hooser’s wife Kinda and their two daughters, Shayle and Courtney. This is an unspeakable loss. We mourn with you and pray that you can find some peace and some solace in this most trying of times. • On Saturday, after a short stay at the University of Utah Hospital, MICHAEL AARON JAYNE was booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of murder. • Today, after having reviewed the evidence gathered so far by law enforcement, the Utah County Attorney’s Office has filed formal charges against Mr. Jayne. The charging document, called a criminal information, alleges the commission of nine felony offenses on May 5, 2024. Specifically, we have charged Mr. Jayne with:

o One count of AGGRAVATED MURDER, a capital felony, for intentionally or knowingly causing the death of Sgt. Bill Hooser, a police officer for the Santaquin Police Department; o Two counts of ATTEMPTED AGGRAVATED MURDER, each a first-degree felony, for attempting to cause the death of Trooper Dustin Griffiths of the Utah Highway Patrol, and attempting to cause the death of a woman who had been a passenger in Mr. Jayne’s semi-truck; o One count of AGGRAVATED KIDNAPPING, a first-degree felony, for using or threatening to use a weapon in the unlawful detention of the female passenger in Mr. Jayne’s semi-truck; o One count of BURGLARY, a second-degree felony, for the unlawful entry into a dwelling with the intent to commit theft while fleeing police; o Three counts of AUTOMOBILE THEFT, each a second-degree felony; for the unauthorized taking of three automobiles while fleeing police; and o One count of FAILING TO OBEY THE LAWFUL COMMAND OF POLICE TO STOP, a third-degree felony, for fleeing despite law enforcement officers’ visual or audible signals to stop.

• The arrest and filing of the information are merely the first steps in the criminal justice process. Tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Mr. Jayne will appear before a judge in the Fourth District Court to be informed of these charges. He will then be entitled to the assistance of counsel for his defense, and to a preliminary hearing, where the State will be required to show probable cause that the Defendant committed the charged crimes. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is not to determine guilt, but simply to determine whether the prosecution has enough evidence to proceed to a trial. • It is important to note that at this stage, the charges in the Information are only allegations, including allegations of his intent and conduct. Under our Constitution, Mr. Jayne is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He is entitled to the assistance of counsel, a speedy and public trial before a jury of his peers, and to all the other rights afforded under the Constitution. • At trial, it will be our burden to prove Mr. Jayne’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And ultimately, it will be for a jury to decide whether we have met that burden. I am assembling a team of my best attorneys to achieve that end. • By way of information, I would like to explain the most serious charge. Aggravated murder is a capital offense. Under Utah law, a person convicted of aggravated murder may face one of three possible sentences: o The death penalty; o Life in prison without the possibility of parole; or o 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole. • If, after the preliminary hearing, a judge decides that Mr. Jayne should stand trial, he will be required to enter a plea to each of the charges at what is called an arraignment hearing. If Mr. Jayne pleads not guilty at the arraignment, then, by statute, we will have 60 days to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty. • I know that this case has generated tremendous interest from the public. And we have already received requests from the press for recordings and reports associated with the investigation. We intend to deny those requests. You may ask why. First, the investigation is ongoing. Second, and it bears reiterating, that under our Constitution, only a jury can determine guilt or innocence. And the jury must do so based only on evidence that is admissible as determined by a judge, not on information a juror might learn from the press. Also, I would remind you that all hearings, including the trial, are public. • It is both my goal, and my sworn duty, to see to it that justice is done in accordance with the Constitution. I will notify the public when it comes time to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty. I will also make a statement after the trial concludes. Otherwise, I do not intend to make statements during this ongoing investigation and criminal justice process. I will not publicly opine on the evidence or on decisions issued by the court. I will not do anything that might jeopardize the integrity of this prosecution. This process will take months, so I ask for your patience as this case proceeds. Thank you.