ST. GEORGE – An arraignment hearing for a LaVerkin man accused of murder was halted in 5th District Court Thursday, as the attorney for the accused said he filed a motion to quash a bind over order while also requesting a new preliminary hearing.
John Stettler Stucki, 55, appeared with his attorney, Edward Flint, Thursday morning before Judge John Walton. Stucki had been scheduled to answer a charge of first-degree felony murder when Flint told the court about the motion he had filed.
Based on the results of testimony given during the Sept. 10 preliminary hearing, Walton ruled the state had provided sufficient evidence supporting a first-degree felony murder change against Stucki. The case was subsequently bound over for trial.
Flint argued that testimony given by the state’s witnesses did not support the charge the state was seeking but perhaps a lesser change, instead. He wrote in his motion that the defense had gained sufficient testimony from the preliminary hearing to refute the state’s charge.
“There may have been sufficient evidence to bind over the defendant on a lesser included charge, either Manslaughter, a Second Degree Felony, or Homicide by Assault, a Third Degree Felony,” Flint wrote in the motion.
Stucki was arrested on Oct. 9, 2013, following an altercation between himself and 64-year-old Donald George Loomer. The two had been drinking and engaged in a brawl. During the fight, Loomer allegedly smashed a coffee mug into the side of Stucki’s face. At some point after that, Stucki allegedly hit Loomer in the head with a 4-foot-long, 2-inch-wide branch. The impact from the blow left Loomer unconscious.
Loomer was flown to Las Vegas for treatment where he ultimately died from his injuries.
Stucki’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 4.
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