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Teens are glad trio will face charges in Cache incident

The teenagers who accused three men of tying them up by the necks and holding them at gunpoint in Logan Canyon seem pleased that the trio will face felony charges.

"I'm happy the charges were filed," Tito Thanadabouth, 18, said. "Maybe next time they (the men) will just tell the kids to leave instead of shooting at them."John Lemon Jeppson, 50, Pocatello, Idaho; Christopher Lynn Doerr, Tooele; and Arthur Benjamin Peasnall, Tooele, will each face six counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, in 1st District Court.

In a private compound, the trio is accused of firing gunshots near the heads of two different groups of teenagers and tying them up by their necks and wrists.

Cache County deputies planned to take the men into custody but hadn't arrested them by 7 p.m. Friday.

Prosecutors also dropped trespassing charges faced by the 38 juveniles and young adults for allegedly ignoring a "No Trespassing" sign and sneaking into the private property.

The owners asked prosecutors to drop the charges out of sympathy for the teens, Cache County Attorney Scott Wyatt said.

"The trespassing charge was the last thing I was worried about," Thanadabouth said. "I just hope those guys don't get off on some technicality."

Thanadabouth and seven friends entered the camp Friday, Oct. 10, looking for a Halloween scare. The compound, which was the Catholic-owned St. Anne's Retreat before the church sold it to private investors in 1992, is rumored to be haunted.

The teens got a bigger scare than they ever expected.

While the group played in an empty swimming pool, men jumped out of some bushes with shotguns. One gunman took a shot as close as 6 inches from the head of a teen, said Kevin Thompson, 19, who was with the group.

The men, who descried themselves as security guards, marched the kids at gunpoint to a cabin and tied them by their necks, telling them not to move or the rope would cut their heads off, Thompson alleged.

One man took several photos of the kids while they were tied up. Police have some of the photos, Wyatt said.

Thanadabouth was shown the pictures during a visit to the police station.

"The pictures looked like something straight out of a horror movie," he said. "There was eight scared teenagers with ropes around their necks."

Another group of 30 teens and young adults entered the compound later that day and were also tied at the hands and neck.

A girl from the second group told police that one man fondled her, but prosecutors don't plan to pursue charges on that accusation. Wyatt believes there may have been "inappropriate" contact but not enough to warrant criminal charges, he said.

Police said a caller told a Cache County dispatcher that he was holding the teens from the second group in the empty swimming pool, according to a tape of the call.

"Around their necks?" the dispatcher asked.

"Yes, they're on their knees in the swimming pool," the caller replied.

"You got them on their knees in a swimming pool?" the dispatcher asked.

"Hey, this is private property," he responded.

Prosecutors decided to press charges after interviewing the suspects and nearly all the teens and their parents, Wyatt said. The owners of the property didn't authorize the men to act as security officers, which also contributed to the decision to file.

The three weren't even employed at the compound, Wyatt added. The owners allowed them to stay there in return for some maintenance work, but they were never asked to act as security guards.