Man Accused Of Killing City Worker Will Stay Behind Bars
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) — A Utah man accused of fatally shooting a city code enforcement officer after what he considered years of harassment over laws requiring cleanup of trash and weeds outside his home will stay behind bars after a judge on Tuesday refused to lift a no-bail order.
Judge Randall Skanchy made his ruling during a hearing in Salt Lake City where a representative for victim Jill Robinson’s family implored him to keep Kevin Wayne Billings locked up so he can’t hurt anyone else or himself.
“We all love Jill so very, very much and we are devastated that we will not have one last phone call, one last vacation, one last Christmas, one last family party, one last anything with her, not even a goodbye,” said cousin Tracy Maxfield, reading a statement. “It is despicable that Kevin Billings has the privilege to have one last anything.”
Billings, 64, killed Robinson, 52, on Aug. 9 in West Valley City, authorities say.
Billings torched her truck and started a fire on his neighbor’s deck that spread to their home and destroyed it, killing six dogs and two cats, police say. Afterward, Billings said Robinson “got what she deserved,” according to police jail documents.
Billings used a walker as he came into court, sporting a white beard. He didn’t talk during the hearing. Numerous members of his family sat in the courtroom, but they declined comment after the hearing.
Billings has not yet pleaded to charges that include arson and aggravated murder, which could bring the death penalty.
His attorney, Nick Falcone, asked Skanchy to set bail at $500,000 so that Billings could deal with his health issues at home and see his close-knit Mormon family that includes seven children and 11 grandchildren. He noted that this is Billings’ first time in jail and said he wouldn’t be a flight risk because of his ailing health.
Court records show Billings had a history of code enforcement charges dating back decades.
After several months of prodding by the city, he pleaded guilty in 1992 to misdemeanor weed-control and bulky waste-accumulation charges and agreed to clean up his house. Five years later, a judge signed an order allowing the city to clean up waste they said was obstructing the view of the street.
Robinson was an unarmed, civilian worker who typically dealt with complaints about unkempt yards or abandoned cars, West Valley City officials said. Code enforcement officers are trained to leave and call police if people get hostile.
Falcone said outside court that his client feels remorse about what happened.
“He has been very upset about these events that have occurred,” Falcone said.
Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Chou Chou Collins countered that Billings’ health problems didn’t stop him from shooting Robinson from close range or carefully planning the events.
“This woman was just doing her job,” Collins said. “Her family never gets to see her again.”
In explaining his decision, Skanchy said he was concerned that Billings could hurt himself and was struck by his abhorrent actions on August 9.
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