Taylorsville man charged with starting Brian Head Fire will be tried in Provo

Robert Ray Lyman, who is accused of starting the Brian Head Fire last year, appears in 5th District Court in Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 15, 2017 | File photo by Utah court pool, St. George News

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.

A DC-10 makes a large fire retardant drop over the Brian Head Fire, Iron County, Utah, June 21, 2017 | File photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands, St. George News

Read more: Trial for man accused of starting Brian Head Fire won’t be held 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.

Read more: Man accused of starting Brian Head Fire wants trial moved because of community ‘hatred’ toward him

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.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • iceplant September 21, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    It’s for his own good.
    If he were to be tried in Iron County, they’d probably roast him pretty badly. He looks a little old to be spending any amount of time in jail. I feel sorry for him in a way. And at the same time, I can understand the rage people feel towards him. What a horrible situation to be in.

    • Striker4 September 21, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      Well I was Trolling St George news at 10:13 PM Friday, September 21st 2018 and came across this article. Well gee whiz silly willy wonkers there icepuddle …he should of thought of that before he lit the fire. all those victims of his carelessness have a right to see justice served…have a nice day icepuddle

  • Shane September 21, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    yep feel so bad for him, how he went above and beyond not getting a burn permit. How about poor Bryan Burr who life was ended.. 13 homes destroyed and countless hours firefighters worked to get the fire under control..

    • mesaman September 21, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      I think the defense attorneys should seek an out of court settlement; may I suggest he pay only $25 million and spend every weekend until 2025 on Cedar Mountain, planting seedlings, at his cost, and waive the jail time. Cruel, you say? Then maybe you could find it in your generosity to help him plant seedlings.

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