Centerville home invasion and arson suspect has lengthy, violent criminal history

Jul 26, 2022, 7:49 PM

CENTERVILLE, Utah — The suspect named in a Centerville home invasion of an elderly couple that turned into an arson has a violent criminal history that involves attacking other random people in their homes in the past.

Centerville police announced Tuesday that Ammon Jacob Woodhead was transported from the hospital to the Salt Lake County Jail on a Board of Pardons warrant, where he’s expected to face charges in the horrifying attack and fire.

The couple told KSL TV that the man who broke into the home threatened to burn it down if they didn’t give him money. After enduring a violent fight with the suspect, the couple worked to get the homeowner’s 87-year-old father out of the basement and to safety as the house went up in flames.

Centerville family recalls the home invasion, arson attack

A quick search of Woodhead turns up a lengthy criminal history, including a rampage he went on in 2012 in a Murray neighborhood. According to court documents, Woodhead broke into a home, tried to attack someone with a hatchet as they slept in their bed, then fought with another person in the home. He moved on and tried to break down a neighbor’s door with the hatchet. Woodhead ended up on the roof of a third home, where police eventually cornered and arrested him.

Woodhead pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison, but since then, there’s been a whole host of issues in various police jurisdictions, with arrests, drug charges, and other dealings with officers. In a 2019 West Valley City case, Woodhead was labeled as being at risk of committing a violent crime.

“The consequences could have been really serious. That’s what causes a lot of concern — you have a person who is supposedly a repeat offender who is now engaged in conduct that could have resulted in death or serious injury to someone,” said Greg Skordas, a former prosecutor and attorney not connected to the case.

He explained that a lot of people may look at a case like this and think that the person fell through the cracks of the justice system.

“People might look back and say, ‘Why wasn’t he locked up before? Why wasn’t he committed before?’ And the answers is that, he was,” Skordas explained. “But he was able to convince the authorities that he was better, that he had been rehabilitated, that he was safe. And so, he was allowed to be placed in the community again, with unfortunately terrible results.”

Woodhead and his mother have said in past letters to the court that he has a history of mental illness and drug addiction.

Skordas said that resources are lacking in the criminal justice system for those with mental illnesses, and that it can be hard to address that.

“Oftentimes we, what we call, ‘warehouse people,’ we just put them away for a couple years in jail or prison. We know that society is safe from them, but we don’t address the underlying problem,” Skordas said. “And ultimately, they are released. And ultimately, they are back in society — and sometimes they reoffend.”

That’s what allegedly happened with the case in Centerville, with more victims who could have lost their lives. Skordas said that unfortunately, it sometimes takes a serious incident to put someone in a hospital or prison setting.

Centerville police said before the home invasion and arson, they believe Woodhead committed a residential burglary and two vehicle burglaries in a different area of Centerville.

Woodhead is now in the Salt Lake County Jail on the Board of Pardons warrant. Centerville police said charges are being screened with the Davis County Attorney’s Office against Woodhead, including aggravated attempted murder, aggravated arson, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, residential burglary, vehicle burglary, assault on a peace officer, and possession of a controlled substance.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Candace Lierd walks into her bail hearing Tuesday (Court pool photo)...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Victims react after Exitus CEO denied bail

The former CEO for anti-human trafficking nonprofit, Exitus, was denied bail in a hearing on Tuesday. Further, more victims have come forward with accusations made against her and prosecutors say she is likely to face more charges.

10 minutes ago

child in doctor's office...

Mike Anderson

Flu, COVID cases expected to rise in Utah

The number of COVID-19 diagnoses continues to stay above what we saw over the summer but now some doctors are starting to see early signs of the flu as well.

26 minutes ago

People explore Utahraptor State Park...

Alex Cabrero

Ground broken for Utahraptor State Park near Moab

There are certain days Brookes Britt looks forward to. Monday was one of them.

45 minutes ago

Tennis and pickleball courts...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

USA Pickleball unveils ‘pivotal’ product changes. Will it solve game’s leading complaint?

Despite adding many new courts in recent years, Mia McCain contends that Salt Lake City has struggled to meet the "huge, growing demand" associated with pickleball's rise in popularity.

2 hours ago

Candace Lierd. (KSL TV)...

Mary Culbertson

Bail denied for former nonprofit Exitus CEO, Candace Lierd

Former CEO of nonprofit Exitus appeared for a hearing where she was dismissed with no bail.

3 hours ago

(KSL TV)...

Tamara Vaifanua

Utah Food Bank preparing for federal government shutdown

The Utah Food Bank is watching the potential federal government shutdown very closely

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Centerville home invasion and arson suspect has lengthy, violent criminal history