ST. GEORGE — A Cedar City man on probation for a violent attack in 2018 was arrested Saturday, accused of severely beating a couple during an unprovoked attack outside of their home.
According to charging documents filed with the court, officers were dispatched Saturday night to a residence in Cedar City on an assault in progress after a witness called 911 reporting that a woman was being beaten with a metal pipe.
Officers arrived to find two injured individuals behind the residence and were informed the incident began when a suspect, identified as 31-year-old Jason Wardle, came to the rear door of the home and started banging on it. When the resident opened the door, the suspect entered, saying he was there to buy drugs, an account corroborated by witnesses at the scene.
When the man told Wardle they didn’t sell drugs and that he needed to leave, Wardle reportedly rushed the man, tackling him to the ground, and a physical altercation ensued.
A woman in another room of the house came in when she heard the commotion and saw the suspect striking the man “over and over,” severely beating him, the officer noted. She grabbed a curtain rod and started striking the suspect so he would stop.
Wardle then allegedly turned on the woman and threw her to the ground just outside of the back door, where he began to hit her with a metal pipe. He then got on top of her and began choking and punching her in the face, which is when the injured man attempted to grab hold of the suspect to get him off her.
“At this point the suspect began smashing the male victim’s head into a concrete wall,” the officer wrote in the report.
The suspect fled on foot just prior to officers arriving, and when he was located nearby, officers noted that Wardle was “obviously intoxicated” and described slurred speech, belligerent behavior and a strong odor of alcohol.
The officer also noted cuts on the suspect’s knuckles that were consistent with markings sustained in a fist fight, along with markings on his back that appeared fresh.
Wardle was transported to the Iron County Jail where he faces first-degree aggravated burglary and two third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault-an attempt with force or violence to injure.
The suspect has two prior aggravated assault cases, including a 2015 case that began when police were called to what was initially reported as noise complaint at an apartment complex in Cedar City.
Responding officers arrived to find that Wardle had assaulted his two roommates, striking one with a 3-foot-long samurai sword and elbowing the other in the face when she tried to stop him. A neighbor was also kicked in the stomach by Wardle when the fight moved outside and the neighbor attempted to intervene.
When the officers entered the residence, Wardle “met this entry with violence,” the arresting officer wrote, and attempted to bite and spit on the officers as he fought them off.
Wardle was eventually taken into custody and booked into the Iron County Jail and later pleaded guilty to four misdemeanors, including aggravated assault, assault on a peace officer, interfering with an arrest and intoxication. He was ordered to serve 21 days in jail and was placed on 24-months probation and ordered to attend anger management classes, requirements he successfully completed in February of the following year.
In 2018, the suspect faced nearly a dozen charges for an incident involving the assault of four individuals, including two children.
In that case, officers responded to an altercation at a residence in Cedar City where they found a large group of adults and children yelling outside of the home. The altercation began when Wardle struck his wife in the face, and when one of the children attempted to stop the fight, Wardle bit the child in the face and put him in a choke hold before throwing him to the ground.
Wardle also punched a younger child in the face and attacked a neighbor who attempted to intervene and get the children to safety, beating and biting the neighbor several times.
Wardle was arrested on nine felony offenses for aggravated assault and domestic violence-related charges, along with misdemeanor interfering with an arresting officer, disorderly conduct and intoxication.
He pleaded guilty to three of the charges the following year, while nine were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea. Three prison terms were suspended in the case, and instead, Wardle was sentence to serve 270 days in jail and placed on 36-months probation. He was also ordered to pay $1,100 in fines and $817 in restitution. He was still on probation when Saturday’s incident was reported.
Iron County prosecutor Chad Dotson told St. George News that on Oct. 22, he was following up on Wardle’s case and requested a show cause hearing after Wardle failed to abide by the terms of his probation, citing he failed to make consistent restitution payments, to obtain a substance abuse evaluation and that he also failed to complete treatment.
“We ordered restitution in that case to at least try and make his victims whole, but he didn’t even do that,” Dotson said.
The reason behind the order was to ensure that Wardle’s progress, or lack thereof, would be addressed by the court and to make the court aware that he had violated the terms of his probation as ordered by the judge instead of allowing his probation to continue with so little effort on the part of the defendant.
“I filed that order because the defendant needs to answer for his lack of progress while on probation,” Dotson said, adding that the violence demonstrated during the 2018 crime was particularly heinous, which is something the prosecutor’s office takes very seriously.
Referring to Saturday’s arrest, Dotson said the incident will definitely change things and that in light of the level of violence depicted throughout the suspect’s criminal history, the prosecutor’s office “will do everything we can to make sure he is held accountable for his actions and that he gets the maximum sentence possible.”
Wardle is in custody in Iron County and is being held without bail, according to the no-bail order signed by District Judge Ann Marie McGiff-Allen Monday morning.
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