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Utah man appeals murder case to get out of plea deal

Brandon Keith Thompson, 30, of Hyrum, was arrested for investigation of murder on Monday after police say he shot a man following an argument.
Brandon Keith Thompson
Box Elder County Jail

BRIGHAM CITY — A Tremonton man who could spend the rest of his life in prison after he admitted to murder will appeal a judge's decision to bar him from withdrawing his guilty plea, court records show.

New attorneys for Brandon K. Thompson, 31, argue his former lawyer misled him and coerced him into taking a plea deal. They contend in a notice of appeal filed Friday that prosecutors threatened to criminally charge his girlfriend if he took the case to a trial.

Thompson's new legal team also rejects the court's 2018 finding that there was enough evidence for Thompson to stand trial on a charge of aggravated murder, a capital offense, in the death of 33-year-old Michael K. Hogenson.

Early on April 16, 2018, Thompson called 911 to report he shot a man in self-defense at 3625 W. 1000 North, court documents say, because the man threatened him and his family. Thompson said he fired warning shots but the man charged him, so he fired.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty for Thompson. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of murder, a first-degree felony, as part of the plea agreement, court records show.

In May, 1st District Judge Brandon Maynard ruled there was no threat or coercion and Thompson's former lawyer was thorough. He denied Thompson's request to withdraw his plea. Last week, the judge sentenced him to at least 15 years and up to life in the Utah State Prison on the murder charge and ordered sentences for possessing a dangerous weapon as a restricted person and obstructing justice to run concurrently, or at the same time, as the murder sentence.

The Utah Supreme Court has assigned the Utah Court of Appeals to review his case.