Couple living in basement arrested in Hildale when eviction turns violent

File photo of Colorado City Marshal's Office patrol vehicle, Hildale, Utah, April 28, 2019 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Hildale couple were arrested Thursday by the Colorado City Marshal’s Office for aggravated assault following an eviction that allegedly erupted into violence the previous evening.

Sam Lee, 56, of Newport Coast, Calif., booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Feb. 26, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Sam Kuk Lee, 56, and Do Lee, both of Hildale, are in jail facing third-degree aggravated assault charges. The incident began with a disturbance call involving a homeowner attempting to serve an eviction order upon the couple who were living at his residence with their adult son.

When police responded to the disturbance call, they learned that the Lee family was living in the basement of the home, Chief Robb Radley of the Colorado City Marshal’s Office said, adding that the homeowner offered the space to the family when he learned they had no where else to stay.

As time went on, however, problems cropped up with the arrangement and the homeowner told the family they would need to move out.

When the couple refused to leave, the homeowner began the eviction process. On Wednesday, the court issued the order and the homeowner “went downstairs to show the Lee’s the order and told them they had to leave,” Radley said.

“That’s when Mr. Lee became upset and started attacking the homeowner,” he said.

The homeowner retreated upstairs where he was again allegedly attacked in the kitchen by Sam Lee, as shown in the video taken by one of the daughters of the homeowner and later turned over to police.

Meanwhile, Do Lee came up from the basement and began hitting the homeowner with a piece of broken wood that appeared to have come from a piece of furniture or some other item, Radley said, that she grabbed before running up the stairs.

In the meantime, one of the family members living on the main level called 911 to request police assistance while a second family member began taking video with their cell phone.

During the struggle, a coffee mug shattered when it hit the floor seconds before Sam Lee fell, striking his head on the broken glass which caused a laceration to his head.

Minutes later, deputies with the Colorado City Marshal’s Office arrived at the scene where they broke up the disturbance and separated the parties. They also advised Sam Lee to go to the hospital to be treated for his injury while the investigation into the incident continued.

“The health and safety of the individuals is most important, so we wanted Sam Lee to get the wound treated first, and we can always file charges later,” the chief said.

Do Lee, of Hildale, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Feb. 26, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The Lees’ son, who was not involved in the incident, remained downstairs to gather their belongings while Sam and Do Lee were preparing to go to the hospital.

“We told the couple they were not to return to the home after getting treatment at the hospital, and we said their son would stay to collect their things and move them out,” Radley said.

The couple did, however, return to Hildale after the trip to the hospital and were met by police just before they drove onto the property. The pair were arrested and transported to jail.

“Had they not returned, we would have filed charges on them but they would not have been arrested that night,” he said.

Instead, they would have been issued a summons once the charges were filed and would have been required to appear in court, but they would not have been arrested and taken to jail.

With the couple in custody, deputies viewed the video footage and other evidence that showed that the homeowner “did nothing but defend himself,” he said, at which point they submitted the aggravated assault charges to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

“What we see on the video is the homeowner not punching or anything, he’s just trying to hold the couple back. So the Lees were definitely the primary aggressors in this situation,” Radley said.

The Lees’ adult son remained at the property to remove the family’s belongings, with the help of the homeowner.

Colorado City Marshal’s Office patrol vehicle, Hildale, Utah, April 28, 2019 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

“The homeowner and his family are good people that were trying to help, and were downstairs helping the son before we left,” Radley said.

At the time of Wednesday’s arrest, Sam Lee was out on bond on three open drug cases that were still being processed through the courts, so the arrest also caused all three bonds to be revoked, including his most recent case filed in October.

In that case, the defendant was stopped by UHP after the trooper observed his vehicle following too close behind a semi on northbound Interstate 15. During the stop, the trooper detected the odor of marijuana, and as the driver got out of the vehicle the trooper said he noticed “methamphetamine shards on the seat of the car where he had been sitting.”

During a search of the vehicle, officers found a small amount of marijuana along with a fake battery that contained “a large shard of methamphetamine,” the trooper noted in the report.

The suspect was arrested and booked into jail and a urine test analyzed later was allegedly positive for both drugs. The trooper also noted the suspect’s extensive criminal history connected to drugs in the report. The suspect was arrested and transported to jail where he faces a felony drug charge.

Both suspects remain in custody relating to Wednesday’s incident. Do Lee’s bail is set at $5,000, while Sam Lee is being held on $18,650 bail, which includes the bond revocation amounts.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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