Attorney: Teens' hit list was 'fantasical flight of fancy'

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WEST JORDAN -- Two teens accused of plotting to torture and kill several people on an alleged hit list went to trial Thursday.

Attorneys for the teens say they weren't serious about it, but prosecutors say the teens planned to duplicate scenes from a horror movie.

Last Friday, the judge ordered the release of one suspect, a 14-year-old Midvale Middle School student, from detention under the conditions that he stay under 24-hour house arrest until his trial.

In a taped interview Thursday, the 14-year-old suspect said there were two girls on the list of possible victims. He said the girls had emotional issues and, if they survived, would be recruited as accomplices.

The 14-year-old is not in custody. He told a detective he and his friend came up with a plan after watching the horror movie "Saw," but he did not know when they would carry it out.

The 15-year-old suspect, who went to West High, told police they were "just messing around" and they were not serious about torturing people. He said it was just a dumb idea.

The attorneys for both teens say prosecutors have no evidence and are basing their case entirely on the boys' statements to police.

The 14-year-old's attorney says the boys repeatedly denied any intent to carry out the plan and police kept pushing them to talk about it.

"I don't know how much clearer it could be that this is imaginary, fantasical flight of fancy," said Thomas Burton, attorney for the 14-year-old suspect.

In their opening statements, prosecutors said the boys planned to kidnap and torture people, isolate them and put them through a series of torture tests similar to scenes from the "Saw" movies. They said one plan was to make the victims crawl through a burning tube.

According to court documents, the boys' hit list included a student at Granite Parks Middle School, a student at Midvale Middle School and the school's resource officer.

Prosecutors say the teens wanted to teach the victims a lesson for doing bad things or for being a drain on society.

Police arrested the teens in March after the 15-year-old's mother listened in on a phone conversation between them. She testified hearing her son talk about sewing someone's mouth closed.

The teens are charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping.

The trial will continue Friday. A victim is expected to testify then.


Story compiled with contributions from Sandra Yi and Nicole Gonzales.

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