Cedar City man accused of murder in fatal hit-and-run found competent to stand trial

Responders at the scene of a fatal hit-and-run incident in a parking lot, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 7, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A 25-year-old Cedar City man who allegedly ran over another man with his car in a parking lot last September, killing him, has been found competent to stand trial on murder charges.

Jail booking photo of Jacob Schmidt, Sept. 9, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

During a competency hearing conducted Tuesday morning via videoconference in 5th District Court, Jacob Wayne Schmidt was found to be competent for the incident that took place last September, allowing the case to proceed.

A preliminary hearing date for the case has not yet been set by 5th District Judge Ann Marie McIff Allen. Schmidt continues to be held without bail in Iron County Jail, where he has been incarcerated since his arrest in September.

Schmidt is accused of intentionally running over another man while driving a silver Dodge Stratus in the parking lot of the Home Depot in Cedar City on Sept. 7, then fleeing from the scene in the car.

The man who was run over, identified by authorities as 37-year-old John Sineath, was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries a short time later.

Surveillance photos of the suspect vehicle helped lead investigators to Schmidt, who was arrested two days later on Sept. 9. He has been formally charged with first-degree felony murder in connection with the incident.

The case was put on hold in late October when the judge ordered a competency evaluation be performed by mental health experts.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed in support of his arrest, Schmidt also had an outstanding no-bail warrant out of Henderson, Nevada, for failure to appear on charges of attempted larceny and assault with a deadly weapon.

Schmidt is also accused of causing damage to a jail, a third-degree felony, after deputies reportedly found burned materials and a broken window in Schmidt’s cell on Jan. 20.

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

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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