LOCAL NEWS

Nine charges filed against driver accused of killing Sgt. Hooser

May 14, 2024, 10:04 AM | Updated: 12:33 pm

PROVO — The man accused of intentionally striking Sgt. Bill Hooser with a semitruck, killing him on impact, will now face criminal charges.

Utah County Attorney Jeffrey S. Gray conducted a press conference to announce those criminal charges against Michael Aaron Jayne, 42, for his involvement in Hooser’s death. 

Hooser was killed in the line of duty on May 5, when he made a traffic stop on a semitruck. Jayne, the driver of that semitruck, drove off before turning around suddenly and intentionally striking Hooser.

“The document alleges the commission of 9 felony offenses on May 5, 2024. Specifically, we have charged Mr. Jayne with one count of aggravated murder, a capital felony for intentionally or knowingly causing the death of Sgt. Bill Hooser, a police officer with the Santaquin Police Department,” Gray said.

Jayne was also charged with:

  • two counts of attempted aggravated murder, each a first-degree felony, for attempting to cause the death of Utah Highway Patrol trooper Dustin Griffiths and woman who was a passenger in the semitruck.
  • one count of aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, for using and threatening to use a weapon to detain a passenger in his semitruck
  • one count of burglary, a second-degree felony, for the unlawful entry into a home with the intent to commit theft
  • three counts of automobile theft, each a second-degree felony for stealing three vehicles while fleeing police
  • one count of failing to obey despite officer commands to stop, a third-degree felony.

The most serious charge — aggravated murder — faces the heaviest consequences. Under Utah law, a person convicted may face one of three possible sentences:

  • Life in prison without the possibility of parole
  • 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole
  • Death penalty

If after the preliminary hearing, a judge decides Jayne should go to trial, he will be required to enter a plea to each of the charges in an arraignment hearing. If he pleads not guilty at the arraignment —  then by statute — there will be 60 days to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty.  

Gray also said the charges and information are only allegations until moving forward in the process.

“At trial, it will be our burden to prove Mr. Jayne’s guilt without 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,” Gray said.

Jayne will appear make his initial court appearance on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

 

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Nine charges filed against driver accused of killing Sgt. Hooser