Wyoming man pleads guilty but mentally ill to stabbing man in neck in eastern Summit County
A man pleaded guilty on Monday to stabbing another man in the neck at a convenience store in eastern Summit County in April.
Charles Ryan Hendricks, 45, of Evanston, Wyoming, entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill to attempted murder in Summit County’s 3rd District Court as part of deal with prosecutors. Attempted murder, a first-degree felony, is punishable by a prison sentence of five years to life at the Utah State Prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 25.
Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said a judge will still have the same sentencing options as with a guilty plea that did not include a mental illness defense. There are no sentencing recommendations from the state yet, though, because a pre-sentence investigation was ordered, she said.
Paul Quinlan, Hendricks’ public defender, said he sustained a traumatic brain injury more than 20 years ago and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
“The prosecutor and judge acknowledged that he was suffering from a mental illness that made him unable to fully appreciate what he was doing,” he said. “All those things were confirmed through evaluations so I filed a notice to rely on the defense of diminished mental capacity.”
Hendricks is still in custody at the Summit County Jail. Quinlan said Adult Probation and Parole, as well as the Department of Human Services, will be interviewing Hendricks to determine what the best placement for him will be as part of his sentencing.
“A judge has all the options available, including committing him to the state prison or Utah State Hospital where he would receive treatment for his mental illness, which is an environment that I think is more appropriate for someone like him,” he said. “The bottom line is I really hope he can get the help that he needs because he is a good guy when he is not in the throes of schizophrenia.”
Charges were filed in 3rd District Court against Hendricks on April 23 after he stabbed a 62-year-old man from Magna in the neck with a knife two days earlier at the Bear River Lodge, located 50 miles east of Kamas on the Mirror Lake Highway.
Hendricks entered the store and was muttering obscenities under his breath, court documents state. The victim had purchased items at the convenience store and was attempting to leave when Hendricks focused his attention on him.
When the victim went to leave, Hendricks shoved him and yelled at him before stabbing him in the neck, according to the documents. A witness then tackled Hendricks, while others restrained him until law enforcement arrived.
One of the witnesses took the knife away from Hendricks as he referred to the victim as Satan. Witnesses used towels to apply pressure to the victim’s wound while family members placed the victim in a private vehicle.
They drove toward Evanston with the victim, then were met by an ambulance. He was briefly taken to a hospital in Evanston before he was transferred to the University of Utah Hospital via medical helicopter.
More than a dozen people witnessed the incident, including members of the victim’s family.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.