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PIUTE SEEKS FUNDING AID FOR MURDER TRIAL

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Piute County officials are seeking state funding assistance to help with the cost of a second degree murder trial.

The sparsely populated county, with only about 1,500 residents, can't afford a murder trial on its limited budget, said County Attorney K.L. McIff. Lew Day, 42, Kanab, Kane County, is scheduled to go to trial March 26 in Junction.County Commissioners Afton Blood and Linden Romine were accompanied by McIff recently in a meeting with Gov. Norm Bangerter, where they asked for financial aid. The governor pledged to seek assistance from the Utah Legislature during its next session that begins in January.

Small, rural Utah counties have found it impossible to finance extended criminal trials. For example, Millard County has had state financial help as well as assistance from the Utah attorney general's office in prosecuting murder cases.

Piute County commissioners also requested and were granted assistance from the attorney general's office in prosecuting Day. An attorney from that office will help prepare the prosecution's case as well and assist McIff during the trial.

Day pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of David Keith Kyle, 40, Escalante, Garfield County, during a recent arraignment in 6th District Court.

The shooting occurred about 8:30 p.m. Aug. 10 near a ranch six miles south of Marysvale in Piute County. The defendant is accused of taking rifles from a pickup and firing one of them at the victim.