A 3rd Circuit judge on Monday ordered Sam Kastanis to stand trial for what the judged called "one of the most brutal and heinous" murder cases in Utah history.
In the meantime, Kastanis, who had been free on a $125,000 bond, was ordered by Judge Michael Hutchings to be incarcerated in the Salt Lake County Jail pending his trial.The decision to order a trial followed nine days of testimony in one of the longest preliminary hearings in state history.
Kastanis, 44, will be arraigned before 3rd District Judge Dennis Frederick on Friday, Sept. 25, at 9 a.m. He faces four capital-murder charges in connection with the deaths Nov. 17, 1991, of his wife, Margaret, 38, and their children, Melissa, 11; Chrissy, 9; and Clint, 7.
Immediately after Hutchings' decision, prosecutors asked that Kastanis' bail be revoked and he be jailed until his trial. Hutchings granted the motion, citing constitutional case law that gives courts authority to revoke bail in capital-murder cases if there is substantial probable cause that the suspect committed the crime.
Defense attorney Ron Yengich, however, said he may appeal Hutchings' bail-revocation decision Monday to the Utah Supreme Court.
During closing arguments Monday, Yengich asked Hutchings to dismiss the case, noting that the crime scene was "the most poorly investigated homicide scene" he'd ever seen. Yengich also accused investigators of ignoring evidence suggesting Margaret Kastanis could have killed the children and then committed suicide.
But Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Kent Morgan said "there's nothing poorly investigated" about the case. Although there were no witnesses to the murders, Morgan said, there is plenty of evidence pointing to Kastanis as the killer.