CHURCH WELLS, Kane County—The Kane County Attorney’s Office has charged a Page, Ariz. man with first-degree felony murder and four other charges in connection with the death of a Gunnison native last week.
Matthew Wayne Young, 49, the son of Randy and Jerolyn Young of Gunnison, was found dead by a family member at property he owned in Church Wells, Kane County, the evening of Tuesday, April 13. He was buried in the Mayfield Cemetery on Tuesday, April 20.
His family is well known in the Gunnison Valley. His mother served two terms on the Gunnison City Council and on various committees and advisory boards.
On Monday, April 26, detectives from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the U.S. Marshal’s Service, arrested Jason Thomas Hager, also known as Jason Thomas Bates, 38, at a bus stop in Flagstaff, Ariz. He was booked into Coconino County Jail and awaits extradition to Utah, according to the Lake Powell Chronicle.
In a statement, U.S. Marshal David P. Gonzoles said, “The arrest of Jason Bates was the result of excellent investigative work by Kane County sheriff’s detectives. The information they provided the deputy U.S. marshals assigned to our Flagstaff office was key in determining Bates’ location and his capture without incident.”
Lt. Allen Alldredge of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office said prior to the arrest, one of the detectives exchanged a phone call and texts with Bates.
Bates’ charges include first-degree felony murder, two counts of first-degree felony discharge with serious bodily injury, second-degree felony aggravated assault and third-degree possession of a firearm by a restricted person.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, Bates shot Young in the back, and seconds later, fired a single shot into the back of Young’s head.
Alldrege said Young and Hager knew each other. “In Church Wells, probably everybody knows everybody,” Alldredge said of the 200-person unincorporated settlement that he described as “like a subdivision.” But officers have not been found a motive for the murder.
Young was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an Eagle Scout. According to a church directory, he was a member of the Big Water Branch in the Page Arizona Stake.
Young was a U.S. Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Cayuga during Desert Storm, according to the Lake Powell Chronicle.
Young lived in Church Wells and worked at a boat shop in Big Water, 10 miles away.
After he was discovered shot on April 13, an ambulance was called, but the ambulance workers were unable to revive him, Alldredge said.
Though Bates would sometimes stay at his sister’s house in Church Wells, his official address Sheriff’s Office is using is in Page, Ariz.
According to the Lake Powell Chronicle, Bates has a significant criminal history. He served six months in prison in Arizona for aggravated assault. Court records show arrests for false imprisonment, burglary, driving under the influence and multiple assaults, including one on a minor.