Arizona man gets prison for killing Utah rehab ranch staffer
SALT LAKE CITY — A 19-year-old Arizona man was sentenced to prison Thursday for the brutal slaying of one worker and assault on a second staffer at a southern Utah rehabilitation ranch for troubled teens in 2016.
A 6th District Court judge ordered Clay Brewer to serve at least five years and up to life in prison on the murder conviction and at least one year and up to 15 years for the assault.
The sentences will run concurrently.
Authorities say Brewer, of Snowflake, killed 61-year-old Jimmy Woolsey with a metal fire poker as he tried to escape the Turn-About Ranch in Garfield County five days after he arrived in December 2016.
Brewer injured another staff member by striking her in the head before stealing her car and leading deputies on a brief chase, according to authorities.
After his arrest, Brewer told investigators he had intended to act like he had a gun so police officers would fatally shoot him.
He also said he was coming off an addiction to pills while at the camp and tried to kill himself there by drinking bleach.
According to Brewer, his path to drug abuse began when his parents divorced.
Brewer pleaded guilty to reduced charges of murder and aggravated assault in July, saying he would accept whatever punishment came to him.
At an emotional sentencing hearing in the Panguitch courtroom Thursday, Brewer apologized to the victims and their families.
Brewer’s attorney Ron Yengich said his client’s case is “an object lesson for the extremes that can come from drug abuse.
“The reality is that he’s like so many other kids out there, and adults. They get involved with opioids and don’t realize the impact it has on their lives and it takes over their lives and changes them into people they would never have been,” Yengich told the Deseret News.
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