Judge Hears Arguments over Evidence in Murder- Arson Case

Judge Hears Arguments over Evidence in Murder- Arson Case

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- A judge has taken under advisement arguments over whether Mark Anthony Ott's rights were violated when a borrowed truck was searched without a warrant right after he allegedly stabbed two people and set a house fire that killed a 6-year-old girl.

Ott, 39, is charged with capital homicide in the Sept. 1 death of Lacey Paige and also is accused of wounding two people. Authorities allege he entered the Layton home of Donna Ott and stabbed Allen Lawrence, Donna Ott's boyfriend, and Sarah Gooch, Donna Ott's daughter, then set the house on fire, causing the death of the daughter of Allen Lawrence. He has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.

Ott's attorneys asked 2nd District Court Judge Michael G. Allphin to suppress evidence seized from a truck.

Layton Police Detective Shawn Lewis testified that as he arrived at the scene, he heard from dispatch that Ott may have a gun. He said no one knew where Ott was, but that he had left the scene in his ex-wife's truck, leaving behind his brother's Dodge Ram truck he had driven to the area.

Law enforcement personnel decided to search the truck because they believed Ott had a gun and that they needed to find verifying evidence to protect the public, victims and officers, prosecutors argued Tuesday.

Deputy Davis County Attorney Steve Major said he believed the search was legal because in part because when Ott had abandoned the vehicle, his rights and interests to the truck also had been given up.

He said that because of the unknowns in the case, officers needed to learn where Ott was, what weapon he may have and if he was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.

Major, who observed the search, said officers found a letter that referred to death and a gun.

County Attorney Mel Wilson said the evidence seized in the search was significant, but not critical to the case.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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