A 4th District judge has ordered a Salt Lake Tribune reporter to turn over a tape recording of a conversation held April 21 with one of two men charged in the bludgeoning death of a Southern Utah State College student.
The reporter, Chris Jorgensen, and the Tribune have resisted giving up the tape on grounds that a reporter's notes are privileged. Judge George E. Ballif, however, ruled that "the state has a compelling state interest in investigating and developing all possible sources of information in order to establish the guilt or innocence of the defendant."The defendant referred to is Lance Conway Wood, 20, who has been charged along with Michael Anthony Archuleta, 26, in the beating death of Gordon Ray Church, 28. Church's body was found Nov. 23, 1988, at a ranch exit off I-15 near Kanosh, Millard County.
Ballif ordered Jorgensen to present the tape recording to prosecutors on Tuesday, when he also is ordered to make a deposition. The Tribune plans to appeal the order.
According to Millard County Attorney Warren Peterson, who spoke with Jorgensen about his conversation with Wood, the conversation involves evidence previously unavailable to investigators.
Ballif said legal counsel for Jor-gensen has "proffered testimony that no such information is on the tape of the conversation. However, only access to the tape and its content by the prosecution can determine if this is correct."
Wood and Archuleta are charged with murder, aggravated kidnapping, object rape, aggravated sexual assault and possession of a stolen vehicle. Archuleta's murder trial is tentatively set for Nov. 13; Wood won't go to trial until February.
Wood, meanwhile, has filed a $2 million lawsuit in federal court, saying authorities ignored his warnings about Archuleta."