ST. GEORGE — A Colorado man accused of shooting at several officers during an incident last month was in a Beaver County courtroom last week while the two codefendants, both passengers during the chase, pleaded guilty and were sentenced after the pair agreed to turn states’ witness against the driver.
A status hearing was held before District Judge Ann Marie Mciff-Allen in 5th District Court in Beaver County on Monday involving the case against 41-year-old William Jason Brooks of Denver, Colorado, who is facing more than a dozen charges which include two first-degree felony counts of attempted murder.
Brooks faces 13 second-degree felony charges, including assault on a peace officer, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and theft. He also faces four third-degree felony charges, including discharge of a firearm, failing to stop at command of police and unlawful acquisition of a financial card. In addition he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of possession of another’s identifying documents as well as a traffic infraction for speeding.
The charges stem from a pursuit that took place Sept. 13, on Interstate 15 after a UHP trooper spotted the vehicle heading north near mile marker 117 shortly before 7 p.m. The trooper tracked the vehicle going 100 mph in an 80 mph speed zone, and from there, the pursuit continued at nearly 120 mph.
The suspect attempted to make a U-turn in the median minutes later and the car suddenly stopped, at which point the two passengers, 43-year-old John Gow of Parker, Colorado, and 38-year-old Tammy Marie Emanuel of Aurora, Colorado, both got out and surrendered to police.
Brooks, however, fled the area on foot, setting in motion a large-scale operation and manhunt that would continue for several more hours. During the search, the suspect shot at the officers, including a K-9 officer and a DPS helicopter hovering overhead.
During the hearing for Brooks, both sides agreed to schedule a preliminary hearing at a later date to allow the defense time to go over the discovery materials they were waiting to receive from the prosecutor.
Brooks’ defense attorney, Edrick Overson, also brought up the issue of whether or not the case would be picked up by federal prosecutors, and went on to say his client is concerned about the case being tried in federal court.
If federal charges were filed in the case, Overson said, “that would obviously change things from our perspective.”
Prosecutor Von Christiansen said he had not received any information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office on whether federal charges would be filed in the case.
At that point the judge scheduled a preliminary hearing to take place on Nov. 1, and said the case would continue moving forward unless the court hears otherwise.
The two passengers in the car with Brooks that day, Gow and Emanuel, also appeared in the same courtroom for sentencing on Monday. Each faced one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance. Both pleaded guilty during the hearing.
Prior to being sentenced, Gow addressed the court by saying he was sorry. He went on to explain he went to Las Vegas to pick up his friend, Brooks, and was returning to Utah when he was dragged into the incident, and “the next thing I know [Brooks] is shooting at cops,” Gow said.
He also said he had found himself in a situation and realized he made a mistake. He also apologized to the city for any inconvenience on his part during the incident.
“I am ready to move forward,” he said in closing.
The second passenger, Emanuel, also entered a guilty plea to one count of misdemeanor drug possession during the hearing, and she declined to make a statement to the court prior to the judges ruling.
Both defendants were ordered to serve 21 days in the Beaver County Jail with credit for time served. As such, the judge ordered that Gow and Emmanuel, who have remained in custody since their arrest Sept. 13, be released following the hearing. Each was placed on 24 months probation and ordered to pay a $750 fine.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, both defendants agreed to testify truthfully during the trial of Brooks, and the judge also ordered them to do so under the terms of the settlement in the case.
Brooks remains in jail and is being held without bail.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 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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