EVANSTON — On March 25, Jeffrey Mach of Ogden, Utah, appeared in Uinta County Circuit Court before Magistrate Dennis Boals for a preliminary hearing on a charge of aggravated assault and battery with a drawn, deadly weapon. The incident was alleged to have occurred on Nov. 2, 2012.
The first witness called to the stand by prosecutor Dean Stout was Evanston police officer Rowdy Dean. Dean testified he was “shadowing” a new officer for the police department as a part of training on the night of Nov. 2, 2012, when they were dispatched to a residence on a report of an assault and threats, though the case officer was Officer McMurray.
The second witness was Ashley Brown, who testified she knew nothing about the alleged assault until she was told by her father, ex-husband and Phillip Handford, after the event was supposed to have happened. Brown testified she had told the police she knew nothing about the incident and had asked them to leave her alone.
“Did Jeffrey Mach talk to you about what was going on?” Stout asked.
“Jeffrey said he couldn’t talk to me about what was going on,” Brown replied.
“Did you ever come to know he had a gun?” Stout asked.
“I never knew about that,” Brown testified. “I think the whole thing sounds ridiculous.”
The third witness called to the stand was Phillip Handford, the alleged victim in the case.
“Did you call and make a report on someone threatening you with a gun?” Stout asked.
“Yes, on the evening of Nov. 2, 2012,” Handford answered.
Handford went on to testify he and Ashley Brown had been texting during the day over work matters, and concerning her condition due to a recent automobile accident.
“I received a text inviting me to her house,” Handford stated.
“Then what happened?” Stout asked.
“I went to her house,” Handford responded. “I walked part way into the house, I was grabbed by the front of my shirt and pushed against a wall. A second person grabbed me by the front of my shirt and struck the side of my head, and threatened to blow my brains out. They argued over whether to shank me, blow my brains out or let me go.”
“Did you ever see a gun?” Stout asked.
“Yes,” Handford testified.
“When did you see the gun?” Stout continued.
“When he was standing at the top of the stairs,” Handford replied.
During cross examination by defense attorney Jeffery Phillips, Handford testified the text messages were not saved to the phone he was using at the time of the incident, as it was a loaner phone, but the messages were written down for the police.
“Did you pursue a relationship with Ashley Brown?” Phillips asked.
“No,” Handford stated.
“Did the police take any pictures of bruises or harm?” Phillips continued.
“No,” Handford said.
Defense witness Jeremy Moore was then called to the stand, and testified he drove Mach to the residence of Ashley Brown, because Mach had been drinking.
“Did you or Mr. Mach ever threaten Mr. Handford?” Phillips asked.
“No,” Moore replied.
“Did you ever place your hands on Mr. Handford?” Phillips asked.
“No,” Moore stated.
Prosecutor Stout asked the witness during cross-examination if Mach owned a handgun. Moore testified Mach was not the sort of person who would own a gun.
“So, he could own a handgun and you wouldn’t know?” Stout asked.
“Yes, he could own one and I wouldn’t know,” Moore testified.
Jeffrey Mach was the last witness called during the hearing. After questions about what Mach was doing in Evanston during the day and on the night of Nov. 2, Phillips began serious questioning.
“How would you categorize your level of intoxication?” Phillips asked.
“I wouldn’t have drove, I was pretty drunk,” Mach stated.
“Did you use Ashley’s cell phone?” Phillips continued.
“Yes, I texted this guy and asked him to come over,” Mach testified.
“Did you have a gun in your possession?” Phillips asked.
“No,” Mach replied.
“Did you have a knife in your possession?” Phillips continued.
“No,” Mach stated.
“Did you ever threaten Mr. Handford?” Phillips asked.
“I threatened to kick his ass if he didn’t leave her alone,” Mach testified.
Dean Stout then cross-examined Mach.
“You took Ashley Brown’s phone from her friend’s house?” Stout asked.
“Yes,” Mach responded.
“You used it to lure him to Ashley Brown’s house?” Stout continued.
“No, I wouldn’t say I lured him. Well, yes, I guess I would,” Mach replied.
Boals stated the testimony he heard warranted having the case bound over to Third District Court for arraignment. No date has yet been set for that court appearance.