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Suspected attacker misses court again

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A man charged in an attack on Main Street during last year’s Sundance Film Festival missed a court date on Wednesday, the second time he has done so, prompting a judge to again issue a warrant for his arrest.

Kyle Erickson, who is 25 years old and from Lehi, was scheduled to appear in front of Judge Shauna Kerr for what had been expected to be an important round of discussions about the possibility of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Kerr called Erickson’s name at 10:15 a.m. in the Justice Court courtroom at Silver Summit. She then issued a $2,500 warrant for Erickson’s arrest. Kerry Gaines, who is prosecuting the case, asked Kerr for a warrant in that amount.

Erickson faces four charges, including two counts of assault, stemming from the Jan. 18, 2009 confrontation on the upper stretch of Main Street. Each of the charges is a misdemeanor. He has pleaded not guilty.

He missed a scheduled court appearance in November. Kerr issued an arrest warrant then, but Erickson the next month was in attendance for another court date in the case. Kerr in December agreed to withdraw the warrant after he appeared. Erickson in December had verbally pledged to Kerr that he would attend future court dates. He told her he was returning from Texas when he missed the November court date.

The prosecutor had intended to speak to Erickson and Kerr about a plea bargain on Wednesday that has been under negotiation for some time. The deal that had been discussed previously would have called for Erickson to plead guilty to one of the assault charges in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining three charges.

The assault charges are class B misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine upon conviction.

Gaines said on Wednesday, though, Erickson’s absence "nullifies the offer" of the plea bargain.

"We had an offer in place. Due to his failure to appear, that offer is no longer on the table," Gaines said, adding that she was surprised that Erickson did not attend on Wednesday.

Erickson does not have an attorney on record at the Justice Court.

A prosecution court filing describes Erickson as the instigator of the confrontation, which involved him, someone he was with and a couple in Park City for Sundance.

Erickson was lying on the sidewalk yelling obscenities as the couple passed, the court filing says. A fight ensued between Ryan Bilbrey, who was one of the visitors, and Erickson. Bilbrey ended up on the ground when a man who was with Erickson, John Cook, viciously kicked Bilbrey in the face, causing extensive damage. The police quickly captured Cook nearby, but Erickson eluded officers that night. He was found midsummer in Utah County.

A jury convicted Cook of a class A misdemeanor count of assault. Judge Bruce Lubeck in November sentenced Cook to 300 days in jail and ordered him to pay restitution to Bilbrey and the state.

In a handwritten response to a lawsuit filed by Bilbrey naming Cook and Erickson as defendants, Erickson denied he attacked Bilbrey. Erickson also said in the response Bilbrey, Bilbrey’s wife and others provoked the confrontation, which Erickson described as being "mutual simple combat."


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