BURLEY — Three men have been arrested after police said they beat up a teen in the Sublett area, stole his rifle and threatened to kill and bury him.
Jeff Owen Smith, 48, of Eagle, Grant Edward Horne, 42, of Bellevue and Rodger V. Powell, 48, of Sandy, Utah, are each charged with felony counts of aggravated battery, injury to a child, burglary and grand theft. They have not entered a plea.
A 16-year-old boy and his parents told Cassia County Sheriff deputies he was hunting Wednesday at 3175 E. 500 S. in Cassia County. As he stopped to spot deer, three men approached in an all-terrain vehicle. The larger man, later identified as Powell, approached and grabbed the boy by the throat and began punching him, police said.
The teen told police he stayed down and pretended he was unconscious after the men beat him and searched his pickup. He also said men started calling him a “stupid poacher” and said the deer were theirs.
Police say they took the boy’s .308 caliber Remington rifle, and Powell told the boy they were going to shoot him with his own gun, kill him and bury him.
The men offered a different story to police. They said they spotted the teen’s pickup where they were hunting and the boy was in a field shooting at three bucks. The boy was “stumbling and mumbling” and was asking what he did wrong. Powell told police he called the poacher’s hotline and said he had a picture of the boy and his truck.
Police recovered the boy’s rifle leaning against a tree, where Powell said they could find it.
Preliminary hearings are set for all three men Friday in Cassia County Magistrate Court. If convicted, they face maximum penalties of 15 years in prison for aggravated battery, 10 years for injury to a child, 10 years for grand theft and one year for burglary.
They are being held at the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center on $250,000 bonds with special conditions that they turn over all firearms to a third party while the case is pending.