Charges filed in S. Utah rock toppling case

Jan 31 2014 - 5:51pm

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FILE - This file frame grab from a video taken by Dave Hall shows two men cheering after a Boy Scouts leader knocked over an ancient Utah desert rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park. Prosecutors have filed charges Friday Jan. 31, 2014, against two former Boy Scout leaders accused of toppling ancient rock formations at Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park. State Parks officials say Glenn Taylor was charged with criminal mischief. David Hall was charged with aiding criminal mischief, another felony. (AP Photo/Dave Hall, File)
FILE - This file frame grab from a video taken by Dave Hall shows two men cheering after a Boy Scouts leader knocked over an ancient Utah desert rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park. Prosecutors have filed charges Friday Jan. 31, 2014, against two former Boy Scout leaders accused of toppling ancient rock formations at Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park. State Parks officials say Glenn Taylor was charged with criminal mischief. David Hall was charged with aiding criminal mischief, another felony. (AP Photo/Dave Hall, File)

SALT LAKE CITY  -- Prosecutors filed charges Friday against two former Boy Scout leaders accused of toppling one of the ancient rock formations at Utah's Goblin Valley State Park.

Glenn Taylor is charged with criminal mischief and David Hall with aiding criminal mischief, another felony, Utah State Parks & Recreation said.

Emery County Attorney David Blackwell said he filed the charges Friday but is trying to negotiate a plea deal.

The pair was ordered to appear in state court March 18.

A video shot by Hall in October and posted on YouTube shows Taylor dislodging a mushroom-shaped sandstone pillar.

They claimed it might have been ready to fall and kill a visitor. Both were later stripped of their Boy Scout positions.

Park officials have said the rock formation had been standing for much of human history, if not longer.

"We are taking it seriously," Blackwell said. "It's been an interesting case, mostly because of the attention it's garnered."

Blackwell said any defense asserting the goblin-shaped rock was ready to tip over "would need to have a lot of expert testimony, and it would probably go both ways."

The round-shaped rock, which was pushed off a natural pedestal, weighed thousands of pounds, he said.

Taylor's lawyer, Scott Card, didn't immediately return a phone message Friday from The Associated Press Friday.

Blackwell said Hall doesn't have a lawyer, and Hall told The AP by email he had no comment at this time. No phone number could be found for Taylor.

If convicted, the men could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

 

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