Charged: Suspect in Sgt. Bill Hooser’s Death Faces 9 Felonies in Tragic Case

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) — A suspect in the death of Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser has been formally charged with nine felonies by the Utah County Attorney’s Office. Michael Aaron Jayne allegedly used a semi-truck to kill Sgt. Hooser during a traffic stop on May 5. The charges were announced the day after Hooser’s memorial service in Orem. Prosecutors have stated that they will not answer any questions about the case until after the trial.

County Attorney Jeffrey Gray announced that all recommended charges by law enforcement would be filed against Jayne. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office, the arresting agency, recommended nine charges after stopping a semi-truck on I-15 following reports of a person on top of the truck’s trailer. Jayne, the suspect, then fled the scene by driving away, making a U-turn, and ultimately hitting and killing Sgt. Hooser with the semi-truck. He fled on foot, stole another vehicle, and was apprehended more than 150 miles away in Vernal.

If convicted, Jayne could face maximum sentences of life in prison without parole or the death penalty. Gray stated that if Jayne pleads not guilty at the arraignment, there would be 60 days to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty. The release of body camera footage during the trial process has been a topic of discussion, with former prosecutor Nathan Evershed noting the prosecutor’s discretion in releasing details to the press.

It is anticipated that the case may see challenges, possibly involving a change of venue due to the high-profile nature of the case. Jayne is scheduled to appear in court to be informed of the charges. The unfolding case has garnered significant attention, as the community mourns the loss of Sgt. Hooser and seeks justice for his tragic death.