Man who fled after being sentenced for shooting has been rearrested

A man who ran away while being taken to a treatment center and his friend, who allegedly helped him avoid capture for three weeks, have both been arrested, police say.

A man who ran away while being taken to a treatment center and his friend, who allegedly helped him avoid capture for three weeks, have both been arrested, police say. (BCFC, Shutterstock)

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ST. GEORGE — Police arrested a man who they say escaped from custody while being taken to a treatment center and had been on the run for three weeks.

A man investigators say helped his friend avoid being arrested during that time is also now in custody.

Gavin David Williams, 20, was charged with several crimes, including aggravated robbery and attempted murder, after police say he shot another man during a low-level drug deal in southern Utah on Jan. 23, 2023. On May 9, he pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and, in exchange, a charge of attempted murder was dismissed.

Williams' conviction carried a possible sentence of five years to life in prison. But an agreement was reached where he would become a resident at the Other Side Academy, a residential treatment facility in Salt Lake City.

"This program is available as an alternative to those facing long-term incarceration as well as those seeking a change from the life they've chosen in the past. Many of those who seek entrance into the academy are convicts, substance abusers or homeless," the organization's website states. "The Other Side Academy is not for those seeking a quick fix to a lifetime of poor habits. A student commits to 30 months in residence, and in many cases, this is instead of serving a prison sentence."

Williams was "on a zero tolerance" supervision plan, according to a report from Adult Probation and Parole filed in 5th District Court.

But on May 10, the day after he was sentenced, "Mr. Williams was being transported to the Other Side Academy by their staff members when he opened the door and (ran) in downtown Salt Lake City," the report states. "It would appear Mr. Williams has no intention of participating in or completing the Other Side Academy program."

A warrant was issued for his arrest and "various law enforcement entities began attempts to locate and apprehend Gavin," according to court documents. The U.S. Marshals' Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team tracked down Williams on May 31 and booked him into the Salt Lake County Jail. He is now scheduled to be back in court on Thursday.

On June 3, one of Williams' friends, Travis Alan Dickey, 30, of Hurricane, was charged in 5th District Court with obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, after allegedly helping Williams avoid capture.

According to the arrest warrant issued for Dickey, investigators received information on May 17 that Williams was headed to a residence in St. George to gather some of his belongings.

"Staff with AP&P had been positioned in the surrounding area waiting for Gavin … so we could move in and apprehend him. It had been several hours, and the time line of his arrival had come and gone," the affidavit states. "At this time I did some follow-up with our sources and discovered that Mr. Travis Dickey had learned that we knew Gavin was coming to town and told Gavin to stay away."

The Washington County Attorney's Office served a subpoena on Dickey's phone records and discovered several calls and texts between Dickey and Williams on May 17, the affidavit states.

Dickey's charges were sealed to the public until he was located and arrested the next day.

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Police & CourtsUtahSalt Lake CountySouthern Utah
Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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