ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) — The St. George man accused of killing his roommate in their apartment in early July and fleeing across state lines in the victim’s car appeared in the Fifth District Court for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
Joshua Anthony Huntsman, 24, was extradited from Santa Rosa, California and booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility shortly before midnight Friday.
Via video Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox reminded Huntsman of his rights and informed him of his charges of first-degree murder and second-degree felony theft.
The homicide investigation began July 3 when officers conducted a welfare check on 62-year-old Gary Hall at their apartment. Authorities say that after the Denny’s cook failed to show up for work and didn’t answer his phone after several attempts, his manager called the police.
According to a search warrant, St. George police officers climbed through a window with the help of a landlord and observed “feet lying on the floor,” forcing entry after not receiving any response to perform live-saving measures.
Authorities discovered Hall was dead, “lying in a pool of blood” and covered with a blanket. The autopsy determined the victim had died of two gunshot wounds to the back of the head and the front of the face. Police discovered a bullet and bullet casing on the floor next to the body and an empty gun safe in Huntsman’s room, the affidavit states.
Detectives were granted a search warrant to track the suspect’s cell phone on July 6, which showed he was within 200 meters of an address on Goodman Ave. in Santa Rosa, California.
The Santa Rosa Police Department located the victim’s stolen vehicle in a grocery store parking lot, within walking distance of the determined address.
When officers apprehended Huntsman, they located a 9mm pistol on him, the same caliber as the shell casing recovered at the crime scene, court records show.
Huntsman’s next court appearance is August 11 at 2 p.m.