BURLEY — A Cassia County judge denied a motion for a new trial for a Utah man convicted of beating a 16-year-old boy who was hunting 10 miles east of Malta in September 2016.
Rodger Powell, of Sandy, Utah, was convicted by a jury in July of felony aggravated battery, injury to a child and misdemeanor interfering with a lawful hunt.
He was denied the new trial by Cassia County District Judge Michael Tribe through a written decision issued Feb. 1.
Powell’s attorney asked for the new trial, saying new evidence came to light from a pre-investigation report when the boy’s mother wrote that the teen suffered two previous concussions that summer.
Powell was one of three men charged in the incident.
A sentencing hearing in the case is set for 11 a.m. March 1 in Cassia County District Court.
In Tribe’s analysis he wrote that although the previous concussions, which were not treated by a physician, were not discovered prior to trial, it was less clear whether that evidence was material.
Tribe said Powell’s defense at trial was that the boy fabricated the events to get out of trouble for poaching or hunting illegally.
If the boy had been previously diagnosed, he would know what concussion symptoms to report to the emergency room doctor, police and to his parents.
During an evidentiary hearing in November, the boy’s mother clarified her statements and said her son had not seen a doctor during the previous head injuries, which he received during rodeo competitions.
Even if the evidence was determined material, it did not meet the element of law which requires the evidence to probably produce an acquittal, the judge said.
Tribe wrote that the new evidence would not change the outcome of the case. After a five-day trial, the jury convicted Powell based on the boy’s physical condition, which was portrayed through photographs and testimony from the doctor who treated him along with other testimonies.
The defense could not have reasonably been expected to know or seek out the information about the previous head injuries, so the court did not find a failure to discover the new evidence as a lack of diligence on the part of the defense, Tribe wrote.
Jeff Owen Smith, of Eagle, was found guilty by a jury of felony injury to a child and misdemeanor interfering with a lawful hunt. He was sentenced to four years of probation with a withheld judgment, which means if he successfully completes his probation it could be removed from his record.
Edward Grant Horne was also charged with felony grand theft, aggravated battery, injury to a child and misdemeanor interfering with a lawful hunt.
His case is still pending in court. A status hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Cassia County District Court.