SANDY, Utah (ABC4) – Charges against a 19-year-old man accused of intimidating the family of a gay teen who was previously assaulted in front of his home have been dismissed, according to court documents.
Hayden Perry Stowell, out of Sandy, Utah, was charged August 15 with one count of Retaliation Against a Witness, Victim, or Informant (Hate Crime), a Third Degree Felony, as well as one count of Criminal Mischief (Hate Crime), a Class A Misdemeanor.
One week later, on August 22, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion for dismissal “in the interests of justice and because of evidentiary issues.” A judge then dismissed the case, which in turn means that Stowell is released from the Salt Lake County Jail.
However, prosecutors have the option of refiling the case in the future.
Stowell was initially arrested after an incident which occurred on August 13, two weeks after the assault of a gay Sandy teen, where the mother of the victim received a notification on her phone that one of her surveillance cameras was picking up an unknown face.
Charging documents state that she later looked out the window and observed that all her Pride flags were strewn about her front yard and in the street in front of her home.
A witness reportedly watched the surveillance video of the original assault and “immediately recognized the assailant,” as well as multiple others in the car. The witness stated that they all belonged to “The Order,” which she referred to as the “Kingston polygamist family,” who she was reportedly known for a long time.
Charging documents state that after review of the surveillance video from August 13, the male damaging the Pride flags was identified as Hayden Stowell, who was present during the July 30 assault.
Stowell reportedly “ripped down the Pride flags” just 12 hours after the original assailant was booked into juvenile detention on Friday, August 12.
After facing a felony hate crime, due to the incident being considered “witness retaliation” in charging documents, Stowell has now had his charges dismissed in court.