Trial tentatively cancelled in fatal bar shooting as prosecutors, defense work toward resolution

ST. GEORGE — Bronson Joseph Flynn, who is accused of shooting a man to death outside a bar in St. George, will not go to trial in October as originally planned. Attorneys on both sides of the case remain in active negotiations as the defendant waits in federal custody.

Bronson Flynn, of St. George, booking photo posted Dec. 20, 2018 | File photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Flynn, 26, of Ivins, was charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault, using a dangerous weapon during a fight, carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence.

The charges stem from the Dec. 29 shooting incident reported at the One and Only bar on St. George Boulevard shortly after 1 a.m. Police arrived to find Spencer Maluafiti Tafua, 34, of St. George suffering from a gunshot wound. He was allegedly shot by Flynn during an altercation and was subsequently transported by ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries hours later. Flynn was arrested and charged in connection with the shooting.

During Wednesday’s hearing held in 5th District Court, the five-day trial set to begin Oct. 7 was vacated by Judge G. Michael Westfall after Flynn’s defense attorney, Douglas Terry, told the court the defense was in “active negotiations” with prosecutors and that they are “still hoping we will not need to go to trial.”

With Flynn in federal custody, the decision to schedule another jury trial was tabled during the hearing, and all further proceedings were cancelled. Instead, a review hearing was scheduled for Sept. 18 to determine if a settlement could be reached or if the case will be decided by a jury.

The case has been plagued by continuances and delays, in part due to the federal case that has run simultaneously since April, when charges were filed in U.S. District Court against Flynn and his co-defendant, John Cody Thompson, who were each charged with one count of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

The charges stem from allegations that both Flynn and Thompson “knowingly made a false and fictitious statement” during the purchase of a Springfield Armory rifle at Sportsman’s Warehouse. Thompson stated he was purchasing the rifle for himself, when in fact he purchased it for Flynn, according to the federal indictment filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Winward April 10.

Winward told St. George News in a previous interview that the rifle was purchased about two weeks before the shooting. Once the rifle was seized by local law enforcement, it was traced back to Thompson.

A two-day jury trial on the federal case has been rescheduled twice under the premise that a resolution will be reached “in lieu of trials in both cases,” District Judge David Nuffer wrote in the order to continue. Prosecutors for the federal government and the state are coordinating a “global” resolution that would allow Flynn to serve his time in a federal facility rather than serving his sentence in state prison, according to court documents.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!