Recent parolee arrested for multiple crimes in same night

Stock photo | Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY – A recently paroled 29-year-old man was arrested in Cedar City early Saturday morning after he allegedly assaulted a patron outside of Mike’s Tavern the night of Sept. 4. While in custody, the man was identified as a suspect in an attempted robbery that had occurred earlier in the day on Sept. 4.

Justin Robert Rockwell, Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, September 5, 2015 | Courtesy of Iron County Bookings, St. George News
Justin Robert Rockwell, Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, September 5, 2015 | Courtesy of Iron County Bookings, St. George News

Justin Robert Rockwell told police he had no residence and was living on the street, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Cedar City Police Department in support of his arrest.

Rockwell was charged with assault, a class B misdemeanor, and robbery, a second-degree felony, for incidents that occurred at two separate locations Friday, according to the Information filed with 5th District Court in Cedar City.

Police were dispatched to the 400 North block of 400 West Sept 4 at 9 p.m. to respond to reports of a robbery in progress, Cedar City Lt. Darin Adams said.

Arriving on the scene, police found the alleged victim “physically upset” from the encounter, the probable cause statement said. The man reportedly told police that a white man with shaggy, brown hair and tattoos on his midsection came up behind him with a rod and said, “sorry man nothing personal against you but I need some money b—-.”

Taking the threat seriously, the statement reported, the alleged victim took off running south on 400 West to get away from the man and his weapon.

By the time police took the report the man with the rod was nowhere to be found, Adams said, so a search began to find him based on the description that was given by the alleged victim.

Later that night, as Mike’s Tavern, 90 W. Hoover Dr., was closing, Cedar City Police responded to an assault that took place outside, in front of the bar, Adams said.

“The victim said that, out of the blue, Mr. Rockwell walked up, assaulted him – punched him in the face,” he said, “and then fled the area.”

The mans nose was split open and bleeding, according to a probable cause statement issued by CCPD in support of Rockwell’s arrest.

Once Rockwell was identified by the man he allegedly assaulted, Adams said, he was found and taken into custody at 2:24 a.m., and then remanded to the Iron County Jail.

Rockwell admitted to police that he punched the man in front of the tavern, the statement reported, and told them that he had unsettled business to take care of from before. The man told police he had no memory of having ever met Rockwell in the past and, according to the statement, Rockwell was taken to Valley View Medical Center to be evaluated for medical clearance.

At this point there was only the assault charge, Adams said, because police were still unaware that the man they had in custody was the same man they were searching for from the robbery that occurred Friday night.

Since the two separate crimes occurred in different locations at different times of the night, a different officer handled each case so the connection was not made right away, Adams said. It wasn’t until the officer handling the robbery came on to his shift Saturday afternoon and saw Rockwell in bookings that the association was drawn.

After the alleged robbery victim saw Rockwell’s photo on the Iron County Bookings page, the probable cause statement said, he assured police that he was the man with the rod who he had the encounter with the night of Sept. 4.

Based on that information, according to the statement, Rockwell was interviewed by police about the robbery and admitted that he used an arrow to attempt to rob the alleged victim, because he needed money to get out of town.

“He further stated that if … would not have ran away he would have physically taken his possessions,” the statement said.

Though Rockwell’s bail amount is set at $11,070, Sgt. Monty Fielding at the Iron County Jail said, he is not eligible for release. Rockwell was only released from Utah State Prison two months ago, he said, and there is a Board of Pardons warrant for him requesting that Rockwell be placed on a hold at the Iron County Jail until he can be returned to the state prison at a future date.

“If all of his current cases are adjudicated tomorrow the Board of Pardons takes him back to prison anyway,” Fielding said.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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