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PROVO — An Eagle Mountain man accused of driving recklessly and causing a crash that killed two young children who were playing in a corral has filed a motion seeking to prevent a jury from seeing the results of his blood and urine tests from that day.
Defense attorney Benjamin Aldana filed a motion Wednesday saying officers illegally obtained those samples from Kent Cody Barlow because the search warrant police obtained was not supported by evidence of probable cause.
Barlow, 26, is accused of driving recklessly and causing a crash that killed two 3-year-old boys, Odin Jeffrey Ratliff and Hunter Charlie Jackson, while they were playing in a corral at Cedar Valley Stables on May 2. Passengers in the car have testified he was showing off his car and driving fast before the crash.
The Eagle Mountain man is charged with two counts of manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and possession or use of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor.
The motion claims the warrant was obtained without first having any evidence implying that drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident, and did not provide enough basis to give probable cause for a drug test.
"The fact that a bad accident had just occurred in no way provides a substantial legal basis for concluding that drugs, alcohol, or impairment were the cause of or even involved in the accident, or that drugs, alcohol, or impairment were even issues in the case," the motion states.
The request for the warrant did not refer to any actions or comments from passengers alluding to drug use, drug paraphernalia, or the smell of drugs or alcohol, the motion says.
Officers noted in the warrant that Barlow was unconscious and could not give consent to officers taking his blood and urine. However, when a detective showed up to serve the search warrant hours later, Barlow was awake. The detective could have asked him for consent to obtain the samples, but instead just said he had a warrant authorizing him to take the samples from Barlow, the motion states, adding that the warrant relied on prior information that Barlow was unresponsive.
Evidence presented at a preliminary hearing showed that Barlow had 600 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine in his system that day. If the defense motion is granted, jurors would not be presented with those test results.
Fourth District Judge Robert Lund on Thursday scheduled an evidentiary hearing to discuss this motion to suppress for Jan. 4, 2023.
Aldana previously filed a motion to seal his motion to suppress and close any hearings and evidence related to it from the public. After KSL, the Deseret News and KUTV fought against the motion, Lund ruled that the public has a right to courtroom access, and there was not enough evidence to show that closing such proceedings would prevent Barlow from receiving a fair trial.
In the hearing Thursday, Aldana asked for unredacted copies of portions of the policy and procedure manual of the Utah County Sheriff's Office.
An attorney for the sheriff's office, Ben Van Noy, said the office provided him with sections it found to be relevant, but Aldana said that was not enough. Before the hearing, Aldana had amended his request to just include the table of contents, which he said would allow him to choose the sections he needed and then request those.
"I'm not interested in getting redacted policies, I'm interested in representing Mr. Barlow in the way that he's entitled to have representation," Aldana said.
The judge ordered the table of contents to be provided, saying Aldana should be able to choose what in the manual he wants to investigate.