PROVO — A judge ruled Monday that two men and two women who police say kidnapped and attempted to kill a man to collect on a drug debt pose enough of a community threat to each be held in jail on $75,000 cash-only bail.
"There is a severe concern for societal safety," said 4th District Judge Samuel McVey during a Monday morning bail hearing.
Early Saturday, the gang of four allegedly attacked a 21-year-old man and said they would drop him — in pieces — in Utah Lake if he couldn't pay back $250 and interest for the drug-related debt, according to a statement of probable cause filed in 4th District. Court.
The probable-cause statement, written by police officers who investigated the incident, states that the foursome attacked the man and cut him with knives when he told them he didn't have the money.
The man suffered a 6 1/2-inch cut on his arm, which the group later tried to mend with glue, according to the court documents.
Provo police say two men went to a house in Provo in the area of 900 West and 1200 North to obtain drugs Saturday around 4:30 a.m.
One of the men apparently owed someone in the house $250, according to the statement.
However, when the four occupants of the house realized the first man didn't have the money, they attacked both men and took $260 from the second man, who was not originally indebted, police said.
The group then forced that man to drive them in his car to his home where he was supposed to get more money to repay the interest on the other man's debt. When the man couldn't get more money, they let him go but took his cell phone "so he couldn't call 911," according to the court papers.
The individuals also threatened to kill the man and his family if he went to the police.
Back at the home where the beating allegedly occurred, the man who originally owed the debt told his captives he had property at a storage unit that he could pay them with, according to the court document.
On the way to his home to get a key to the unit, the attackers joked about ways to deal with the victim, including chopping his body in pieces and dumping it in Utah Lake or strapping something heavy to his leg and dropping him in the Provo River, according to the statement.
Once at the home, the man got the key and told his mother in Spanish to call the police after telling her in English he was going to play basketball.
The two individuals holding him captive at the time got worried and fled. They were picked up by police a few blocks away.
The other two were caught a few hours later, Provo police said.
The four people accused of the crime, ranging in ages from 22 to 34, were booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of conspiracy to commit aggravated homicide, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, obstruction of justice, aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit vehicle theft.
They also were arrested for investigation of conspiracy to commit vehicle burglary, terroristic threats, extortion and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.