SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – One of the three suspects federally indicted in the torching of a Salt Lake City Police vehicle was allowed pre-trial release.
During a detention appeal hearing on August 12, Christopher Isidro Rojas was allowed to be released from custody after originally being ordered to be detained through trial.
Photographic evidence against Christopher Isidro Rojas was presented in court Tuesday by federal prosecutors in an attempt to keep Rojas, who has been incarcerated since his arrest on July 17, behind bars during the trial.
The photos show Rojas holding a white sheet and a lighter. Another photo shows the same man then lighting the sheet while another man with him is seen throwing it on the vehicle. FBI agents also showed the same suspect damaging the vehicle while wearing a pair of black and white shoes that are later photographed on Rojas at a local bar.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jared C. Bennett issued an order allowing Rojas a pretrial release with conditions but the government was quick to appeal and requested another review, halting Rojas from being released for the time being.
Rojas is among three individuals facing federal charges in the May 30 riots in downtown Salt Lake City. What started as a peaceful protest, turned into violence and vandalism.
Several others were arrested at the state level for various charges directly related to the destruction of the officer’s vehicle. Those charges range from first-degree felony criminal mischief, felony riot, lewdness, possession of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.
Rojas pleaded not guilty to the charges during Tuesday’s hearing and a six-day jury trial was set for October 2, at 9 a.m. before Judge David Barlow.
Jackson Patton, the first man charged in the same case, is still being detained at the Weber County Jail. Patton was arrested on June 4 and has had several detention hearings requesting to be released, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility.
Patton was denied release by Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead and an appeal was filed on his behalf stating the Bail Reform Act “mandates the release of a person pending trial unless the court ‘finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of the community.”
The other man facing federal arson charges, Latroi Devon Newbins, was released by Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead under the special conditions.
Attorney’s for Patton presented a case before the same judge comparing the two defendant’s history.
During secondary detention hearings, Patton’s attorney said Newbins has significant ties in California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Ohio, Washington, and Hawaii, has been convicted of failing to appear in Midvale Justice Court and has a history of violence, destruction of property, and interference with law enforcement.
At this time, another detention hearing has not been scheduled for Patton. All three men face a minimum of 5 years and up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.