LOCAL NEWS

Paroled Utahn who faced a potential death penalty arrested again on weapons charges

Oct 26, 2022, 5:56 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2022, 6:16 pm
handcuffs...
FILE

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A convicted killer who once faced a possible death sentence but was paroled after serving nearly 30 years in prison is in custody again facing new weapons charges.

Joseph Charles Gardner, 64, of St. George, was charged Wednesday in 5th District Court with four counts of being a restricted person in possession of a weapon, a third-degree felony.

On Tuesday, a 54-year-old woman was charged with several felony counts of theft accusing her of stealing guns and a knife. When she was arrested, she claimed she had sold the guns to Gardner, according to police.

Police then questioned Gardner about the firearms but he denied purchasing them. He claimed he allowed the woman to store the weapons at his residence for a couple of days before they were moved out of his home, according to a police booking affidavit.

When St. George police learned that Gardner was on parole for aggravated murder, his parole officer was contacted. The parole officer confirmed by going through Gardner’s phone that he had sent messages to the woman making inquires about purchasing the guns and had made her an offer, the affidavit states.

“The agent told Joseph he needed to come clean about what was in the house. Joseph told the agent that in the shed in the backyard, in a brown cabinet there was a gun. The agent searched the shed and he found the gun, along with a backpack that had knives and some ammunition in it,” according to the affidavit.

Gardner was charged with capital murder in 1990 for the death of Janice Fondren, the best friend of his ex-wife. He argued in court that his use of the anti-depressant drug Prozac caused him to suffer “involuntary intoxication” when he shot Fondren. He body was then dumped in the desert near St. George where it wasn’t found for several days.

In 1992, as part of a plea deal, Gardner pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of murder, a first-degree felony, in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to seek the death penalty. He was instead sentenced to up to life in the Utah State Prison.

But during a parole hearing in 2017, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole noted the progress Gardner had made while being incarcerated. He was granted parole in 2020.

His initial court appearance on his new charges is scheduled for Thursday.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The Jeep is upside down in the left lane on the freeway....
Brooke Williams

Man killed in rollover crash on I-15 in Draper

A Jeep lost control and rolled over on the freeway.
11 hours ago
...
Ashley Moser

Local organization helps single parents put gifts under the Christmas tree

With prices on the rise on almost everything, providing Christmas gifts is proving difficult for many families, especially for single parent households. One Utah organization is jumping in to help.
1 day ago
(Roy City Police Department)...
Madison Swenson

Man in custody after crashing into Roy building, trying to get into another car

A man was taken into custody Friday after crashing into the back of a car, then into a building in Roy, before attempting to get into another car.
1 day ago
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)...
Madison Swenson

First Presidency of the Church releases 2022 Christmas message

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a Christmas message.
1 day ago
...
Shara Park

West Valley business sees lots of in-person activity on Black Friday

A record 166.3 million people are expected to shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While a lot of that business is done online, there is still a strong appetite for visiting locally owned stores.
1 day ago
(Snowbird)...
Karah Brackin

New tram cabins open at Snowbird

Since 1971, the Snowbird Tram has carried people up and down Little Cottonwood Canyon. For the first time in a long time, the tram cabins got quite the facelift and made history.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Paroled Utahn who faced a potential death penalty arrested again on weapons charges