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Brooke Walker ReportingWashington County investigators say they're on the strangest case they have ever worked. A St. George man, accused of trying to kill his wife of 27 years, pleaded not guilty and is out on bail. But it's HOW police say he did it that is so strange.
Jan Hester testified in court that she and her husband Michael were mixing together ammonia and bleach to clean a bathtub when he shoved her face just inches away from the poisonous blend.
She claims he then locked her inside the small, fume-filled bathroom for nearly 20 minutes, using a rug to block the gap underneath the door. A wet towel helped Hester breathe, but she spent more than a week in the hospital, suffering from burns to her eyes and lungs.
Police arrested Michael Hester, charging him with attempted aggravated murder and kidnapping. He was later released on 100-thousand dollars bail. But during the preliminary hearing in August, a judge ordered him back into custody, stating he was "a public threat." However, because that motion was not officially made by the prosecution, Hester was once again let go.
Michael Hester maintains the charges against him are completely false, claiming the situation was nothing but a "cleaning accident."
At an arraignment on Tuesday, a judge prohibited Hester from having contact with any of the state's 21 witnesses. The judge must now rule on a prosecution motion asking that the defendant be kept in jail during the trial. A trial date has not been set, pending that decision.