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Man Arrested After Death Of Landlord In Remote Area Near Apple Valley

Jason Howard Clinger, age 51 (Courtesy Washington County Sheriff's Office)

APPLE VALLEY, Utah – An Apple Valley man was arrested for murder after an altercation between his landlord over the purchase of land in a rural part of Washington County.

Officials with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said 50-year-old Todd Stratton of Rockville was shot and killed outside of a remote residence in Apple Valley that he owned but was in the process of selling to his longtime acquaintance.

The suspect was identified as 51-year-old Jason Clinger. He was living at the home on Coyote Road with his girlfriend, Lucy Truitt.

Dispatchers received a call just after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday asking for help with a suspicious circumstance. Officials said the caller refused to give their name, and had little information about where exactly to respond.

The home was in a remote area on the Plataclay Mine. Deputies were eventually able to get the caller’s first name and a more specific location, but due to the suspicious behavior of the caller, held back until they could get more information.

Chief Deputy Nate Brooksy said their reluctant response was not normal, but they became concerned about sending deputies into a possible ambush in the rural area.

Once the caller gave more specific instructions to the residents and told them there was a person dead at the scene, they immediately responded.

When they arrived on the scene, deputies found Stratton’s body. In their initial investigation, detectives determined he had been shot to death.

Officials said Stratton and Clinger had known each other for quite some time, possibly going back to grade school. The two men had entered into an agreement to transfer ownership of the property.

During an argument over the agreement Tuesday morning, there was a heated exchange and the two apparently got into a physical altercation.

Deputies said Clinger went into the home to retrieve a firearm and shot Stratton.

Truitt was being considered as a person of interest, and was cooperating with detectives.

Clinger was arrested on one count of first degree murder and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility. He was being held on $100,000 bond.