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Utah man charged in 2 'purge' killings found competent to stand both trials

Christian Francis Taele, 28, of Lake Shore, has been found competent to stand trial in both murder cases against him.

Christian Francis Taele, 28, of Lake Shore, has been found competent to stand trial in both murder cases against him. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)


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PROVO — A man accused of killing one man in Ogden and another in Spanish Fork has been found competent to stand trial in both cases against him.

Christian Francis Taele, 28, of Lake Shore, was charged July 12 in 2nd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of Tyler Belinti, 23, from Arizona.

He was charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, on July 27 in 4th District Court, in the death of Ryan Hooley, 49, of Spanish Fork.

Attorneys agreed Wednesday during a 4th District Court hearing that Taele is competent to stand trial in the Spanish Fork case. He was previously found competent to stand trial in the Ogden case.

His next court appearance is a four-hour preliminary hearing on Feb. 21, 2023, where attorneys will present evidence for both cases.

Taele is accused of killing Hooley on July 8. On that day, police were called to the area of 400 East and 1000 North, in Spanish Fork, where Hooley's body was found near a dumpster behind a business. Detectives believe Hooley died from blunt force trauma and from being stabbed just after midnight.

Taele later told investigators that "he did not know (Hooley) but intended to kill him" when he punched and stabbed him, according to charging documents.

The next day, on July 9, police were called to an apartment complex at 2433 Adams Ave. in Ogden. They found Belinti in the gym area, "partially hanging by the neck from a piece of gym equipment," according to a police booking affidavit.

Taele was arrested and accused of killing Belinti, another victim he did not know, according to police. After his arrest in Ogden, Taele also told detectives he was responsible for Hooley's death, the charges allege.

"Christian stated that he killed both the victim in Spanish Fork and in Ogden because he was directed to by a higher power and to 'purge' the city," according to the affidavit, "and has stated that he feels no remorse for the killings."

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