Layton man surprised at harsh sentence for shooting at teens

Tuesday , June 17, 2014 - 10:14 AM

Christopher James Church...

By LORETTA PARK Standard-Examiner staff

FARMINGTON --- A 27-year-old Layton man who had pleaded guilty to charges related to firing multiple shots with a .45 caliber handgun did not think he should spend the next year in jail.

"All this for misdemeanors, your honor?“ Christopher James Church said as deputies handcuffed him following his sentencing hearing on Monday before Judge John Morris in 2nd District Court.

Church had pleaded guilty on May 5 to one count of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor; one count of discharge of firearms, one count of driving under the influence of alcohol and one count of carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol, all class B misdemeanors. 

Morris sentenced Church to serve one year in the Davis County Jail for the class  A misdemeanor, and 180 days for each of the class B misdemeanors. Morris gave Church credit for 32 days Church had previously served at the jail in connection with the charges. 

Before Morris sentenced Church he said, ”I can only characterize your behavior as totally out of control.“ 

He said Church’s level of decision-making is ”poor“ and that Church’s statements he made in the presentence report shows Church ”does not have a clue what you did was entirely wrong.“ 

Church tried to interrupt Morris and said, ”That’s entirely wrong.“ 

In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutors agree to dismissed one count of riot, a third-degree felony;  one count of interference with an arresting officer and one count of reckless driving.

Church’s attorney, Mark Arrington said, the presentence report prepared by Adult Probation and Parole recommended 90 days in jail. 

"AP&P points out these were pretty serious circumstances,” Arrington said. “The circumstances could have been disastrous. He had a blood alcohol level of .24 and well, guns and alcohol rarely mix well, if ever.” 

Church and Brandon Benjamin Edgar Brown, 20, of Kaysville have admitted to shooting multiple shots in the area of 1062 E. 2525 North, Layton, and also in the area of Antelope Drive and Sunset Drive on Oct. 24, 2013. Brown is currently serving a year in the jail. He had pleaded guilty in December to one count of riot, a third-degree felony and one count of carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol. 

Two 17-year-old boys drove to the Layton Police Department and reported they had encountered Brown and Church earlier in the evening on the east end of Antelope Drive while all of them were driving off-road in the area, police said.

When the teenagers drove away about 10:45 p.m. on Oct. 24, they told police, Brown and Church followed them in a Ford Explorer and shot at them.

Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or lpark@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE. Like her on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/SELorettaPark.

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