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SANDY — A friend of a 17-year-old boy accused of punching a gay Sandy teenager is now facing a hate crime charge himself, accused of retaliating against the victim's family.
Hayden Perry Stowell, 19, of Sandy, was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with retaliation against a witness, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor. Prosecutors filed both charges with hate crimes penalty enhancements if he is convicted.
On July 30, a 17-year-old boy was hugging his boyfriend outside in Sandy when a car drove by and someone yelled a homophobic slur, according to charging documents. The same car drove by again 45 minutes later.
"When the silver Infiniti returned the second time, more homophobic terms and comments were made by the occupants of the vehicle toward (the couple)," the charges state.
The car stopped, several males got out and one of them punched the 17-year-old victim in the face with a closed fist, according to the charges. The victim was taken to Alta View Hospital where he was treated for a head injury.
After learning the identity of the person who allegedly hit the teen through social media, the victim's sister went to the suspect's house and demanded that he go back and apologize to her brother, the charges state.
"In the meantime, officers with Sandy Police Department set up containment around (the victim's) home and intercepted (the suspect) and his mother as they arrived," according to the charges.
The 17-year-old boy admitted to stepping outside of his car where the two other boys were standing "while continuing to taunt them with homophobic slurs and insults" and then punching the victim when he yelled back, the charges allege.
The teen accused of hitting the victim was arrested for investigation of assault with a hate crime enhancement.
About 5 a.m. Saturday, the mother of the teen victim got a notification from one of her home surveillance cameras.
"She later looked out the window and observed all her Pride flags strewn about her front yard and the street in front of her home. At least one of the flagpoles had been broken during the process. Both (the victim and his sister) have been struggling with anxiety and fear since the assault on July 30, and with the continued intimidation they felt by the damage to their flags," the charges state.
Another witness who watched surveillance video of the original assault told police she immediately recognized all of the people in the car.
"(The witness) said that she recognized all the people captured in the video surveillance on July 30 and on (Saturday) because they are members of" the Kingston polygamist family and "she has known them for a long time," according to charging documents.
The witness identified Stowell, who turned 19 a few days ago, as the person seen in surveillance video damaging the Pride flags, the charges state.
Prosecutors also noted that Saturday's incident happened just hours after the 17-year-old accused in the assault was booked into juvenile detention. He was rearrested on Friday afternoon and his first detention hearing was scheduled for Monday.
"Stowell ripped down the Pride flags just 12 hours after (the teen) was booked into detention," the charge state. "Stowell has returned to the scene of the original assault with the only clear purpose to further intimidate and harass (the boy) after (Stowell's friend) was booked into custody."
Stowell was arrested Sunday and prosecutors have requested that he be held in jail without bail pending trial.