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Husband Jailed on Charges of Trying to Poison Wife

Husband Jailed on Charges of Trying to Poison Wife



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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- Jan Hester said she was locked inside her bathroom overcome by bleach and ammonia fumes for nearly 20 minutes before the door was finally opened. She slumped into a hallway.

Her husband of 27 years "took his foot and moved me to the side, just like a sack of old potatoes," Hester testified. "Then he just left. He never said one word to me."

A judge revoked bail Friday for Michael Hester, 50, and ordered his arraignment for Sept. 14 on charges of kidnapping and attempted murder.

Deputy Fire Marshall Todd Hohbein told the court bleach and ammonia fumes combine into "a toxic gas that will chemically burn the nose, throat, mouth and eyes. With prolonged exposure this could certainty cause death."

Jan Hester said she used a wet towel to breathe, but the fumes burned her eyes and lungs. After her husband left she stumbled to a neighbor's house for help.

Hester testified she and her husband were mixing a bucket to scrub bathtub stains June 4 when he pushed her down, left the room and held the door shut, taking a rug to seal the gap under it.

"I pleaded for my life. I said, 'You can divorce me if you want, but please don't do this,"' she recounted.

Judge James L. Shumate revoked Hester's $100,000 bail, calling him a "danger to others," and ordered him back into custody.

"I have been in trials in Utah for 30-plus years and during that time I have heard thousands of witnesses," he ruled. "But after the testimony of Jan Hester, the compelling nature and accuracy of her testimony are so clear and convincing to this court, I see no reason whatsoever Hester does not constitute a danger to the community."

If convicted, Hester would face one to 15 years in prison for attempted murder and at least six years for aggravated kidnapping.

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Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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