Staged hate crime in Delta a ‘cry for help,’ lawyer says

Photo of damage caused to the Jones home by an alleged fire-bombing that authorities later learned was staged, Delta, Utah, June 2014 | Photo courtesy of, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – Officials have terminated the investigation into a string of violent hate crimes against a gay man and his family’s business in Delta after learning the incidents were staged.

In a press release issued Tuesday, the Millard County Sheriff’s Office said it’s investigation into a series of events centered around an alleged hate crime, has ended. The events center around 21-year-old Delta resident Rick Jones and the burglarizing and vandalizing on his family’s business, the Grand Central Pizzeria.

The investigation has come to an end today with the admission of Richard (Rick) L. Jones, Jr. to having staged all of the incidents,” the sheriff’s office said in the release. “We are working with the Millard County Attorney’s Office to determine the next step.”

In April and June, it was reported that the Jones’ business and been the target of burglary, vandalism and theft. The Jones’ home was also targeted and Rick Jones’ room was allegedly firebombed by a Molotov coctail. In the April incident, Jones told police he was attacked by two men who beat him, tried to get him to drink bleach and carved anti-gay slurs into his arms.

Jones was hospitalized following that incident with a concussion and severe bruising.

The Millard County Sheriff’s Office said it was “actively and aggressively” investigating the case until Jones came forward about staging the incidents.

Our client has acknowledged that these incidents really were a cry for help. He’s acknowledged that he’s responsible for them,” Brett Tolman, Jones’ attorney, told FOX 13. “Which is why we’ve asked for the termination of the investigation, which is why he’s wanted to quickly return money raised on his behalf. I think it’s a strong indication there are issues that need to be dealt with.”

In the wake of initial reports of the alleged hate crimes committed against Jones and his family’s business, support from across the state came pouring in. It also drew the attention of Lt. Governor Spencer Cox who pledged the state’s full support in finding those responsible.

Some who gave support to Jones and his family before Tuesday’s revelation now urge continued support in its wake.

Equality Utah issued the following statement on its Facebook page:

Equality Utah traveled to Delta earlier this month to meet with Rick and his family. LGBTQ youth in rural communities face tremendous challenges. Isolation and loneliness can lead to harmful behaviors. We do not believe that Rick’s actions were motivated by money or media fame. We hope that our community will be gentle in responding. All LGBTQ youth need compassion, love and support. We must show them that the world is full of possibility and they are a beautiful part of it. We send our love to the entire Jones family.

“We urge community members to continue to be supportive of the Jones family,” The Millard County Sheriff’s Office said in the release.

More on this story be found on Fox13now. Video below courtesy of Fox 13 News.

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  • dogmatic July 2, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Further gifts will only intensify the Self loathing .

  • Mean Momma July 2, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Who cares what his lawyer says! I felt bad for this kid and now I just feel like he is another manipulative, self-serving idiot…
    Yeah he needs help alright, but this was NOT the way to go about it! He done pissed Mean Momma off!

  • sagemoon July 2, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Scum bag liar.

  • fun bag July 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    and here i was thinking that gays could do no wrong, at least that’s what we’ve been told to believe…

  • ladybugavenger July 2, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Cry of help for what? Being gay? Let’s see, they should treat this the same as they would treat him if we’re a straight person that did this. Right? Isn’t that equality?

  • Forsooth July 3, 2015 at 7:56 am

    “My life is so very difficult; what can I do to show the world my pain, to cry for the help I so desperately need? Aha, I’ve got it! Fraud!”

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