CEDAR CITY – Canyon View High School head girls basketball coach and comprehensive guidance counselor Richard Kim Blackner turned himself in to the Iron County Jail in Cedar City Monday at 3:31 p.m. to be booked on charges of third-degree felony witness tampering.
The 44-year-old Cedar City man was booked and then released the same day per a summons from Judge Keith C. Barnes in the Iron County 5th District Court. The summons directed Blackner to turn himself in before appearing Tuesday to answer the witness tampering charge.
According to court documents, the offense in question was committed “On, or about June 2, 2014.”
A Cedar City Police press release reported Blackner allegedly contacted a witness about a burglary case and attempted to get the person to retract previous statements made against the suspect facing charges.
“Blackner’s communication with the witness was intended to get the witness to drop the charges against the suspect,” the release said.
According to the release, after CCPD learned of the accusation, the case was reviewed by the Iron County Attorney’s Office for potential charges. The St. George City Attorney screened the case to help avoid potential conflicts of interest. A summons was issued directing Blackner to appear in court to answer for the third-degree felony.
According to Utah criminal code, a person can be charged with witness tampering if they:
believing that an official proceeding or investigation is pending or about to be instituted, or with the intent to prevent an official proceeding or investigation, he attempts to induce or otherwise cause another person to:
- testify or inform falsely;
- withhold any testimony, information, document, or item;
- elude legal process summoning him to provide evidence;
- or absent himself from any proceeding or investigation to which he has been summoned.
According to court documents, CCPD is currently in possession of a witness statement as well as a CD that have been entered into evidence supporting the summons to appear and the witness tampering charge.
In court on Tuesday, Barnes acknowledged there was a conflict of interest within the court and recused himself from trying Blackner’s case.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Blackner on April 1 at 9:30 a.m. with Judge John J. Walton in courtroom 1 of the District Court Building, 40 N. 100 East in Cedar City.
A 1994 graduate of SUU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Blackner earned his master’s degree in school counseling at the University of Phoenix in 2007, according to his Canyon View High School biography. He has been employed with the Iron County School District for nine years and has taken on a variety of responsibilities in his time there, including the role of athletic director and special education transition coordinator.
Previous to his employment with the school district, according to the biography, Blackner spent time working with the Utah State Juvenile Justice Services, which at the time was known as the Department of Youth Corrections.
Blackner became the head girls basketball coach at Canyon View in 2009.
Blackner is still employed at the high school at this time, Canyon View Vice Principal Jim Langford said.
As of publication time, no one from the school district was available to comment regarding the district’s policy in cases when felony charges are brought against an educator.
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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