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Resolution reached in dead-lawn case in Orem

Betty Perry
Betty Perry
Deseret Morning News archives

OREM — The elderly woman who gained international attention for failing to water her lawn, then being arrested will not go to trial after all.

Betty Perry, 70, and her attorneys reached a resolution early Friday morning, staving off a four-person jury trial scheduled to begin Monday in Orem's 4th District Court.

Perry was arrested July 6 at her home at 1568 S. 800 East in Orem after she refused to give Orem Police Officer Jim Flygare her name. He wanted to write her a ticket for her brown lawn.

The situation escalated to the point that Perry was put in handcuffs and taken to the Orem Police Station.

Flygare was later cleared by a review from the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Perry was charged with interfering with legal arrest, a class B misdemeanor and violation of a zoning ordinance, a class C misdemeanor.

However, with Friday's agreement, the interference charge was reduced to a disorderly conduct infraction, to which Perry pleaded no contest, and the zoning violation was dismissed.

"I think there was a give and take process on both sides," said Andrew Peterson, Orem city prosecutor. "I'm not sure that it's necessarily close to what we had (originally) offered, but it's not close to what they had offered. Both sides came out having compromised. I really feel like both sides can claim victory."

As per sentencing, Perry must pay a $100 fine and be on six months of probation.

Paige Benjamin, Perry's attorney, said at this point he and Perry are not considering a civil suit but that Perry "just wants to move on with life."

Gloria Allred, a famous California attorney, had recently been approved to participate as legal counsel in the upcoming trial.