ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was arrested for stalking and trespassing Sunday after allegedly circling a woman’s home for an hour before adjusting one of her patio chairs in order to sit down and watch her through her glass backdoor.
Police responded to a woman’s residence in St. George on a stalking report, according to a probable cause statement written by St. George Police Officer Jace Hutchings in support of the arrest. When Hutchings arrived the woman quietly opened the door and had him come inside her home.
The woman pointed Hutchings towards her back patio where a man was sitting without a shirt on one of the woman’s patio chairs, the statement said.
“As the male and I made eye contact,” Hutchings wrote in the statement, “the male quickly stood up from the chair and walked very quickly towards the south side of (the woman’s) residence, as if he was going to run away.”
Hutchings ran out the front door and detained the man, later identified as 44-year-old Ben Lee Barton, on the side of the woman’s home.
After interviewing the woman, who “appeared very frightened and terrified,” police learned Barton had been stalking her for an hour prior to police arrival, according to the statement.
The woman told police Barton had been circling her residence and walked onto her property on four separate occasions, the statement said. Barton reportedly looked through the woman’s window before sitting down on her patio chair two separate times.
“(The woman) decided to call the police after (Barton) had moved one of the patio chairs towards her rear door so that (he) could look through the glass door at (the woman) while she laid on the couch,” Hutchings wrote. “(Barton) sat down on the chair and began looking at (the woman).”
When police interviewed Barton about the incident, he told them he “was confused and dazed thus causing him to sit on (the woman’s) patio chair,” according to the statement.
“(Barton) admitted to have been walking around (the woman’s) residence,” Hutchings said, “but said he goes on walks around the neighborhood often.”
Barton told police he suffers from a mental illness and needed to refill his prescriptions, and blamed his mental illness for his actions, Hutchings said.
Barton was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
He was charged with a class A misdemeanor for stalking, and a class B misdemeanor for trespassing.
Barton was released from custody on $2,630 bail, and his arraignment is scheduled for June 1.
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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