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Police Say Man Tried to Hire Friend to Kill Ex-wife

Police Say Man Tried to Hire Friend to Kill Ex-wife

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man unhappy at paying child support allegedly tried to hire his best friend to kill his ex-wife, but she fought him off, Grantsville police said.

Both men have been arrested.

The ex-husband, Donald Miller, 37, was arrested at his parents' home in Salt Lake County Sunday night for investigation of conspiracy to commit murder. He was being held in the Tooele County Jail on $1 million bail.

Miller's friend James David Brinkerhoff, 34, allegedly attacked the woman with an 8-inch hunting knife, but she wrestled it away.

"The stabbing is kinda the last straw in a big scheme," said Grantsville police Detective Dan Chamberlain.

Chamberlain said the motive involves $21,000 in back child support that Millard owes Hyatt, who has custody of their two children.

"He told the people he was (hiring) that the kids weren't happy. That it would be better for them to be with him," Chamberlain said.

Brinkerhoff allegedly knocked on Hyatt's door late on Sept. 11 and asked to speak to Millard.

After a brief conversation, Brinkerhoff allegedly brandished an 8-inch hunting knife and attempted to stab Hyatt, police say.

In the struggle, she grabbed the knife, slicing her hands. Brinkerhoff allegedly attempted to strangle her.

Although she weighs just 115 pounds compared to Brinkerhoff's 260, Hyatt forced him to leave after gaining control of the blade.

He told her he would not leave without his knife, so she tossed it out the front window, Chamberlain said.

"(Hyatt) is emotionally at her wits end. She is frazzled," Chamberlain said. "I called her last night to let her know they have been arrested. She seemed pleased with it. Maybe her life can go back to normal a little bit."

Brinkerhoff, a convicted burglar and forger whom Chamberlain identified with the help of West Valley City police, was arrested Saturday and booked into the Tooele County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit murder.

The woman filed for a protective order Sept. 14 in 3rd District Court, claiming Millard tried to persuade their now 7-year-old son to poison her in 2002.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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