Utah sheriff's deputy arrested in domestic violence case

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MOAB — A Grand County sheriff's deputy was arrested Saturday following a fight with his wife that left the woman with a number of serious injuries, according to investigators.

Officers were called to Moab Regional Hospital about 6:10 p.m. Saturday to take a report on a domestic violence incident, Moab Police Chief Mike Navarre said.

"Officials of the Grand County Sheriff's Department requested that the city police handle the call, as one of the individuals involved was a current employee of the Grand County Sheriff’s Department," the chief said, noting that the alleged domestic violence incident happened outside the city limits.

A San Juan County Jail report obtained through a public records request shows that the wife of Grand County sheriff's deputy Austin Lynn Stubblefield initially told Moab police she was drinking in her home when she got into a verbal argument with someone she declined to identify.

"(The woman) said that sometime during the argument it turned physical and she was knocked unconscious," the investigating officer wrote. "She remembers waking up bloody and beaten up."

The woman later told officers that her husband was responsible for her injuries, according to the report. Officers said the woman told them she intentionally knocked Stubblefield's glasses off a dresser while arguing with him, which made him "very angry."

"That was the last (thing) she remembers before waking up in the bathroom with Austin wiping off her hands with a rag," the investigating officer wrote, noting that the woman said she was "very dazed and confused after she had regained consciousness."

Doctors diagnosed the woman with a concussion, a broken nose and a fractured right eye socket. She also had numerous lacerations to her right ear that required stitches to close and a chipped left front tooth, according to the report.

Officers went to the house where the incident allegedly happened and arrested Stubblefield for investigation of aggravated domestic violence assault, Navarre said. The deputy invoked his right to remain silent.

A Grand County dispatcher, however, told officers that Stubblefield told her he punched his wife in the face in self-defense, the report states. Stubblefield also sent the dispatcher pictures of his face that "showed a small scratch with bruising under his left eyebrow and a small scratch on his left ear."

Stubblefield, 35, apparently posted a photo Wednesday on his Facebook page that showed injuries and bruising on the left side of his face. The photo had been removed Thursday.

Court records show that before Stubblefield and his wife married in August, he sought a protective order against her. The May 16 petition was granted on a temporary basis until a hearing could be held. The hearing never took place though, because Stubblefield asked the judge to dismiss his petition 12 days after he filed it.

Following his arrest Saturday, Stubblefield was taken to the hospital by police after complaining that his left ear hurt. He was then booked into the San Juan County Jail in Monticello. He posted $5,000 bail just before 1 a.m. Sunday and was released, according to jail records.

Stubblefield began working for the sheriff's office in March 2013. His current duties involved tracking the progress of people going through the Drug Court program, according to Grand County Sheriff Steven White. He is now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and a separate internal affairs investigation, the sheriff said.

Elizabeth Sollis, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Human Services, said resources to help victims of domestic violence can be accessed at any time by calling 1-800-897-LINK (5465). In an emergency, though, people should call 911 for help, she said.


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Geoff Liesik


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