Second suspect in Main Street attack captured
July 7, 2009
The authorities have arrested a second suspect in the beating of a man on Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival, capturing him nearly six months after what was a rare act of brutality in Park City.
Kyle Erickson, who is 25 years old and from Lehi, faces two assault charges, a count of disorderly conduct and a public-intoxication charge. The assault charges, class B misdemeanors and punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine upon conviction, are the most serious.
Investigators had been seeking Erickson since the January beating. Another suspect, John Cook, was arrested shortly after the attack and faces a more serious second-degree felony aggravated-assault count.
Details about the arrest of Erickson were not available by midday Tuesday. It is unclear what information led the authorities to him. A Park City Police Department investigator said the Summit County Sheriff’s Office arrested Erickson in Utah County.
Erickson was booked into the Summit County Jail on July 2 and was released after posting $2,500 bail the same day, according to an official at the jail.
In a June 30 court filing against Erickson, Kerry Gaines, the assistant city attorney for City Hall, outlines a case against Erickson that paints him as the instigator.
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According to the filing, nearly 12 witnesses saw Erickson lying on the sidewalk yelling obscenities close to the Egyptian Theatre on Jan. 18, during the busy opening weekend of the film festival. Ryan Bilbrey was with a few other people as he passed Erickson, who stood up, started to shout at Bilbrey and then followed him, the prosecutor said in the filing.
Erickson was trying to "provoke a fight," the filing said, and threw the lid of a trash can at Bilbrey’s wife and then spat at her. Bilbrey and Erickson then fought each other, but Bilbrey slipped on the ice. While another person pulled Erickson off Bilbrey, the other suspect, Cook, kicked Bilbrey in the face several times, the prosecution said.
Erickson and Cook then fled. Cook was quickly captured close by, but the police had been looking for Erickson since then. In March, Bilbrey’s wife and two people she was with identified Erickson in a photo lineup, the filing said.
Bilbrey suffered severe injuries to his cheeks, nose and eye sockets in the attack and has undergone three surgeries. In testimony during a March preliminary hearing, Bilbrey recounted a similar set of events as the prosecutors outlined in their filing against Erickson.
The arrest was made as Cook’s side was preparing for his trial. It had been scheduled this week. Judge Bruce Lubeck, though, delayed the trial until October after the death of a family member of Shelden Carter, Cook’s attorney.
The trial had been scheduled Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The two sides were confident early in the week.
Paul Christensen, who is leading the prosecution, said he had not offered Cook’s side a plea bargain because his case is solid. He did not want the trial delayed because witnesses from outside of Utah had made arrangements to travel this week.
Carter, meanwhile, early in the week said Cook would be acquitted. He said witnesses provide conflicting statements, with some identifying Cook as being involved and others unable to do so.
"I don’t see anybody agreeing 100 percent with the comments of the other people," Carter said.
Upon conviction, Cook faces a potential sentence of 1 to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.