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Defense wants manslaughter charge dropped for woman accused of causing deputy’s death

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS – Defense attorneys want a manslaughter charge thrown out for a local woman accused of inadvertently causing the death of a local deputy.

Jenna Holm, 35, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in connection to the May 18, 2020, death of Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputy Wyatt Maser. A jury trial for Holm is scheduled for Sept. 8, but on Aug. 4, defense attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the manslaughter charge.

Maser was killed early that morning when he and other deputies responded to a car crash. Deputies encountered a distraught Holm wielding a machete on Bone Road east of Idaho Falls. When driving to the scene in his patrol SUV, Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Flagel hit and killed Maser, who was holding Holm at gunpoint in the middle of the road.

RELATED | Internal investigation reveals factors into death of Deputy Wyatt Maser

In his motion to dismiss, Public Defender Jordan Crane argues because prosecutors says Flegel did not break the law when hitting and killing Maser, the deputy’s death cannot be charged as manslaughter. Additionally, Idaho’s law also states that killing someone is excusable when it’s an accident and no one is breaking the law.

Prosecutors have previously alleged that Holm broke the law several times the morning Maser was killed, including aggravated assault by allegedly raising the machete at Maser moments before being hit and killed.

Under Idaho Code, someone can be charged with involuntary manslaughter if they are breaking the law or trying to break the law and someone dies. Bonneville County prosecutors used this section of the statute to charge Holm.

But Crane maintains that if Flegel, whose action resulted in the death of Maser, did not break any laws then Holm cannot be charged with manslaughter. Defense attorneys also clarify that they are not concluding that Flegel did not break any laws when Maser was killed, but for this scenario, they are assuming he did not.

A prosecutor’s response to the defense team’s motion was not yet filed as of Wednesday morning.

Although defense attorneys are asking that the manslaughter charge be dropped, they are still filing documents in preparation for trial.

Several subpoenas were filed last week for the jury trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 8. Among the witnesses subpoenaed include deputies on the scene of Maser’s death and Bonneville County Sheriff Hulse, who took over as sheriff in January after winning the 2020 election. It is not clear why Hulse was subpoenaed to the trial because body camera footage of the scene played in court does not show Hulse there when Maser was hit and killed.

Holm spent the better part of a year in the Bonneville County Jail following Maser’s death until she posted $100,000 bail in April. Holm is not due in court again until the trial. will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.

RELATED: Woman pleads not guilty to causing death of deputy, attorneys argue over internal investigation