ST. GEORGE – The trial for the Taylorsville man accused of starting the 2017 Brian Head Fire has been moved to Provo.
The trial was moved after a judge last month found that Robert Ray Lyman, 62, would not be able to receive a fair and impartial trial in Iron County.
Utah court records show the case was transferred to 4th District Court as of Wednesday with Judge James Brady assigned to the case.
No trial date has been set.
Lyman is accused of starting the 2017 fire at Brian Head that burned over 71,000 acres across parts of Iron and Garfield counties, destroyed 13 homes, triggered the evacuation of about 1,500 people and cost $40 million for fire agencies to combat.
Among the factors cited in Lyman’s motion for a venue change were the massive media coverage the fire received, the animosity some Iron County residents displayed over social media toward the party responsible for the fire, and the assertion that due to Iron County’s small population, members of a prospective jury would likely know someone who was impacted by the fire, thus tainting any sense of impartiality.
Lyman is charged with two misdemeanor offenses for reckless burning that endangered human life and failing to obtain a burn permit. Combined, those charges are punishable by up to 18 months in jail and $3,500 in fines. He also could be ordered to pay restitution toward the $40 million cost of the fire.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges in November.
Persons charged with a criminal offense are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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