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SALT LAKE CITY — A West Valley man who claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed his friend was found guilty by a jury Friday.
Glen Hogue, 59, called 911 at about 12:45 a.m. on March 23, 2021, and reported he had shot his friend in the motor home parked outside Hogue's house in West Valley City, according to charging documents. Police arrived to find Troy Gerry Frampton, 60, dead inside the vehicle with gunshot wounds to his face and chest.
Hogue told police that he acted in self-defense after Frampton, who was impaired, brought a gun into his home. As Hogue struggled with Frampton to try to take the gun, a shot was fired into the floor. According to arguments at the trial, Hogue got the gun from Frampton and unloaded it. Attorneys also said he took Frampton's keys to keep him from getting more guns, which he said were in his car, or to keep him from driving while intoxicated.
After Frampton became belligerent, Hogue put ammunition back in the gun and asked Frampton to sit down. About 30 minutes after the initial shot was fired into the floor of the RV, charging documents say Hogue told police Frampton rushed toward him and he fired two shots, killing him.
The jury determined that Hogue was guilty of murder, a first-degree felony, and discharge of a firearm, a second-degree felony. However, jurors did not unanimously determine that prosecutors had not proven to the applicable standard that "imperfect self-defense" did not apply, meaning that they decided that if Hogue accurately interpreted the events of that night, it was not proven in the trial that he didn't act in self-defense. This lightens the sentence for the murder charge to one for manslaughter.
Deputy Salt Lake County district attorney Shane Cohen said in his closing arguments that Hogue was not a victim, he was the aggressor. He put the magazine back in the gun, chambered the round and pulled the trigger.
The prosecutor said Hogue made the choice to get drunk with Frampton, to share marijuana with him, to take his keys, to load the gun, to point it at Frampton, and to shoot. He said that there was not any evidence that Frampton had hurt Hogue before he was shot.
"He was not put in an impossible situation, he created an impossible situation," Cohen said.
Cohen pointed out things that he saw as discrepancies in Hogue's interviews with officers, and in a phone call he made to a friend from the jail. He said Hogue would say anything to keep himself from being responsible for the death of Frampton.
In the narrative Cohen presented to the jury, he said Hogue went to his home, talked to his girlfriend and eventually called police. He suggested that Hogue should have tried to give his friend medical attention and called for emergency help immediately.
"He thought so little of his friend, the idiot, Troy Frampton, that he put two slugs in him and didn't think twice," Cohen said.
The narrative presented by Hogue's attorney, Austin Mort, was very different. He explained to the jury that the standard the prosecution needed to meet to prove that Hogue was guilty in this case is one of beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a higher standard than clear and convincing evidence. He argued that this standard had not been met and that there was still reasonable doubt.
Mort said that Cohen had tried to show the jury that Frampton did not harm Hogue when he ran toward him and so it was not self-defense, but Mort said the threat was not from physical harm caused by Frampton's advance, but potential harm if Frampton were to get the gun back.
He said Hogue did not have a duty to flee, noting that Frampton, while he was high, brought a loaded gun onto Hogue's property that Hogue didn't want there. Mort said that prosecutors and police did not sufficiently look into proving Hogue's claims and said that they should have brought in a blood splatter expert to look at the scene and done more examinations at the scene.
Mort said that Hogue's story was consistent from the time he called 911.
He said the prosecutors have said Hogue should have given the gun back to Frampton, but argued that would make Hogue a criminal since he would be giving a gun to a restricted person. Mort also said that they suggested giving his keys back, but Mort said that Hogue acted correctly in not allowing an impaired person to drive on the streets.
"It's reasonable to not give someone back a gun who's not allowed to have a gun, for a myriad of reasons, in your own home. It's reasonable to hold onto that gun, and if this person is getting agitated, to have it on you just in case. And when they rush you to try to get it back, to infer that they have some sort of malintent if they do get it back," Mort said.
He asked the jury how they would feel if a gun someone else brought went off in their own home, and said that it would be a tense situation.
The jury began deliberations shortly after noon on Friday, and the verdict was given Friday evening.
Correction: A previous version misinterpreted the jury's ruling on imperfect self-defense. The jury determined that prosecutors neglected to prove that he was not acting in self-defense when he shot his friend, meaning the murder charge will be treated as a manslaughter charge moving forward.