Two 4th District Court judges are considering whether to release transcripts of a preliminary hearing for two men charged in the November 1988 death of a Southern Utah State College student.
Millard County Justice of the Peace Ronald Hare ordered the January and March hearings for Michael Anthony Wood, 26, and Lance Conway Wood, 20, closed to the public and sealed the file on the pair after they were ordered to stand trial in district court.The men are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Gordon Ray Church, son of Delta City Councilman David Church.
The 28-year-old victim was allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted. His body was found Nov. 23, 1988, in a remote desert area about 25 miles south of Fillmore. Investigators said he had been bludgeoned to death with a tire iron and part of a car jack.
Archuleta's trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 10 before Judge George Ballif. Wood's trial before Judge Boyd Park is pending.
Lawyers representing two Salt Lake City newspapers, who contend no evidence has been presented showing release of the transcripts would impair the defendants' ability to get a fair trial, told the judges Hare ignored proper legal procedure in closing the preliminary hearing.
But Millard County Attorney Warren Peterson argued Hare's order strikes a balance between the rights of the accused and the media.