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Judge finds Utah man guilty of assaulting son for refusing to go on LDS mission

Utah

OGDEN, Utah (KSL.com) — A Clearfield, Utah man has been found guilty of assaulting his son during an argument that started when the son said he did not want to go on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Scott Keith Warner, 51, was convicted by a 2nd District Court judge on Sept. 8 of aggravated assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child, third-degree felonies, according to court records.

On Aug. 21, 2020, police were called to Warner’s residence on a report of a fight between Warner and his 18-year-old son. Warner told police “that he had attempted to remove his son from the home after his son stated he did not wish to go on his LDS Church mission,” according to charging documents.

The son told police that he and his father were arguing and after he told him he was not going on a mission, his father “grabbed him by the arm during this argument, and the two began to physically fight. The victim reported that during this fight, he was knocked to the ground, and Scott began to strike the victim’s head into the wall repeatedly as well as squeeze the victim’s neck with both hands,” the charges state.

Police say multiple scratches were visible on the son’s neck, and he was shaking while speaking to officers and was hesitant to provide details about what had happened.

Officers on the scene then spoke to Warner again, who told them he had tried to forcibly remove his son from the residence as it was Warner’s house, the charges state.

“I pointed out that the victim appeared to be a lawful resident. Scott stated I was not a lawyer. I asked Scott how he had attempted to remove the victim from the home and he stated he ‘grabbed’ him. When asked where he grabbed the victim, he stated ‘wherever I could,'” according to police. “He continually referred to the incident as a ‘tussle.'”

Another family member had also called 911, saying Warner was “choking” the victim, according to the charges.

“I determined Scott to be the predominant physical aggressor,” police wrote in the court documents.

In April, Warner and his attorneys filed a motion to have his case dismissed, arguing that Warner acted in self-defense and that it was the son who attacked him first.

Warner was found guilty during a bench trial on Sept. 8. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21. A conviction on a third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in the Utah State Prison. The judge denied a request by prosecutors for Warner to be taken into custody pending his sentencing.

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