Vernal teen pleads no contest to hired beating

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VERNAL, Utah (AP) -- A pregnant Utah teenager charged with hiring a man to beat her in an effort to induce a miscarriage has entered a no contest plea in juvenile court.

The 17-year-old girl, who is now eight months pregnant, was charged with first-degree felony criminal solicitation to commit murder in 8th District Juvenile Court. She entered the plea on Tuesday to a second-degree felony count of the charge.

The girl, who is from Uintah County, has not been identified because of her age.

Judge Larry A. Steele ordered the teen to be placed in the custody of Utah Juvenile Justice Services until she is 21. He denied a request that the girl be placed in her parents' custody, citing concerns about her welfare and that of the unborn child, which survived the attack. He also ordered her to undergo mental evaluations and attend prenatal and parenting counseling.

Court documents said the state also planned to file a petition to take custody of the girl's child when it is born.

Prosecutors said the girl paid Arron Harrison, a 21-year-old man from Naples, $150 to beat her up after her boyfriend threatened a breakup if she didn't get rid of the child.

Court documents said that on May 20, Harrison brought the girl to his home, where he was accused of striking her and biting her, leaving bruises on her stomach and a bite mark on her neck.

Harrison faces second-degree felony attempted murder charges. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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