ST. GEORGE – A 30-year-old woman charged with causing a riot on June 22 after instigating a fight between a group of approximately 15 people pleaded not guilty before Judge Eric Ludlow Tuesday in 5th District Court.
Heather Hill McCleery, of St. George, was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony under Utah Code 76-9-101, causing a riot, after several witnesses identified her as the person who instigated a fight and then called more people on the phone to join the fight which resulted in several people physically injured during its course.
A witness said they saw McCleery yelling at a group of guys near the Skimboard Park on 2700 E. Waterfront Drive in St. George. Another witness said they saw McCleery bring a bat out of her vehicle, matching the information dispatch had given about a bat being used to hit someone in the face.
When officers arrived on scene, they noticed a man lying on the ground who they said appeared to have a concussion, describing him as “limp and almost unconscious, having trouble understanding simple questions, date, time, location and whereabouts.”
The man was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.
Another man, who was hit in the face with a tire iron during the fight, leaving him with a “big swollen eye” and laceration, told officers him and his family and friends were at the park when McCleery and her friends started calling them derogatory names such as “spics” and “beaners” and yelling that immigration was coming for them.
The man said he did not know who hit him, as everything happened so fast, but that he did know McCleery had caused the fight to break out and he recognized her because he used to work with her ex-husband.
A third man, who witnesses said was on the ground getting kicked in the head, told officers that before the actual fight happened, he overheard McCleery calling people on the phone to “come fight the Mexicans.” He said at first it was a small group, and then it turned into a large group as people started to arrive in cars.
McCleery was arrested the following day.
McCleery’s next court appearance is set for Nov. 18.
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