Man Accused of Giving Gun to Mall Shooter Fails to Show in Court

Man Accused of Giving Gun to Mall Shooter Fails to Show in Court

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man indicted for supplying a gun to the Trolley Square killer failed to appear in court Tuesday to change his not-guilty plea.

Brenden Taylor Brown, 21, of West Jordan is accused of arranging the sale of a handgun to Sulejman Talovic, who killed five people at the Salt Lake City shopping mall before dying in a shootout with police.

Brown pleaded not guilty after the indictment last spring but was scheduled to change his plea Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball set another hearing for Thursday and decided against issuing an arrest warrant because Brown previously had complied with court orders, prosecutor John Huber said.

Federal defender Jamie Zenger couldn't explain Brown's absence and told the judge he also failed to show for an appointment before the hearing, Huber said. "She's puzzled," he said.

Zenger quickly left after a conference in Kimball's chambers and didn't return phone calls from The Associated Press.

Court papers say Talovic, who was a minor at the time, bought the handgun in the back seat of Brown's car while in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in 2006.

Months later, on Feb. 12, Talovic, an 18-year-old Bosnian immigrant, went on a shooting spree at Trolley Square.

Brown was indicted for selling Talovic a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, one of two weapons used to fire indiscriminately inside the mall, injuring another four people. Brown wasn't accused of knowing that Talovic planned the shootout.

A co-defendant, Mackenzie Glade Hunter, is scheduled to appear Nov. 1 to change his plea. He was charged with helping arrange the handgun sale.

"We have a tentative negotiation or resolution on it, but I can't talk about it until we do it," Hunter's defense lawyer, David Finlayson, said.

Two other people have been indicted.

Authorities say Matthew Hautala, a U.S. Army private from Wyoming, witnessed the handgun deal but denied knowledge of the sale. His trial is set for Nov. 5.

Westley Wayne Hill, a pawn shop employee, was indicted for selling a Maverick Arms shotgun with a built-in pistol grip to Talovic and failing to keep a record of the transaction.

Hill's lawyers have asked the judge to dismiss the charges, saying Hill didn't know that selling a shotgun fashioned with a pistol grip to a minor was prohibited. His lawyers say federal law makes no mention of whether a long gun with a pistol grip can be sold to a minor or not.

Salt Lake City police have said they'll probably never know why Talovic drove to the mall and began firing at people.

Talovic was 10 when he arrived in the United States. He didn't finish high school and held a blue-collar job at the time of the massacre. His parents buried him in his native land.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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