Angela Hill pleads “not guilty” to Utah charges
MANTI—Angela Hill pleaded “not guilty” in Sixth District Court last Wednesday, Sept. 21 to felony burglary and theft charges connected with the double-murder allegedly committed by Logan McFarland in 2011.
In addition to her not-guilty plea, Hill waived her rights to a speedy trial. Her defense lawyer, George Diumenti Jr., explained the defense’s reasoning.
“As you can anticipate, Mr. Keisel (Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel) and I have been in constant discussion about the direction of this case, and I know you are aware of the companion cases,” Diumenti said. He said the state and defense had agreed to a joint motion to set a pretrial conference in 120 days.
“She’s incarcerated in Nevada with no chance of parole until 2018 so it’s not any detriment to her to relinquish a speedy trial. This is really in her best interests.”
Hill is currently serving a up to a 30-year prison sentence in Nevada in connection with the attempted kidnapping and carjacking of West Wendover resident Rattanaphorn Keomanivong. Hill was with McFarland at the time of the crimes.
Nevada Adult Probation and Parole recommended a 15 –year sentence for Hill. But Elko District Judge Nancy Porter doubled the sentence because, according to the judge, Hill did not show sufficient remorse.
Hill appealed the sentence, her defense attorney arguing the 30-year sentence was “radically increased” with no explanation but a “vague reference to lack of remorse.” The appeal was denied.
The Nevada proceedings delayed prosecution of Hill in Utah. But she is now facing two first-degree felony aggravated burglary charges, one second-degree felony burglary charge and one second-degree theft charge.
“I stay in touch with the victims,” Keisel said. He said the families wish the cases against McFarland and Hill were over but understand the importance of allowing the legal process to play out.
A first-degree felony charge carries a possible sentence of 5 years to life in a Utah State Prison. A second-degree felony carries a possible 1-15-year prison sentence.
Initially, Hill was sent to the Sevier County Jail to prevent interfacility communications with McFarland, who is in the Sanpete County Jail. But she has since been moved to the Utah County Jail.
After Hill pleaded not guilty to the Utah felonies and, after Sixth District Court Judge Marvin Bagley agreed to the joint motion to waive her right to a speedy trial, he set a pretrial conference for Jan. 18, 2017.
McFarland himself has a hearing in Sixth District Court on Monday.
“Things are happening in the case,” Keisel said. “Things are moving ahead.” But he added that the defense was driving the process at the moment and as prosecutor he has to make sure McFarland gets all the legal rights he’s entitled to.”
Keisel told the Messenger, “If we end up with some kind of plea deal (in either the Hill or McFarland cases), and I’m not saying we will, it won’t be for some time.”