LAYTON — Davis County prosecutors will not purse the death penalty against a 20-year-old man charged with aggravated murder.
Attorneys for Clint Corydon Nokes, a Clearfield resident, agreed Friday in Layton’s 2nd District Court to waive Nokes’ preliminary hearing and move the case forward. In return, prosecutors agreed they would not seek the death penalty in the case.
Nokes, shackled and wearing jail garb during the hearing, agreed with his attorneys to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, avoiding the possibility of being put to death if convicted.
On Dec. 1, 2017 at 4:16 p.m., police were dispatched to a call of an unconscious 7-week-old infant that was not breathing. When responders arrived, they began doing CPR on the boy, according to a press release from the Clearfield Police Department.
The infant was first taken to a local hospital before being flown via helicopter to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, the release said. An initial investigation by police indicated the child had signs of physical abuse, according to the release. Less than 12 hours later, the child died due to the injuries.
Nokes was indicted a week later on Dec. 8, 2017 on charges of first-degree felony aggravated murder and second-degree felony child abuse.
Charging documents allege that Nokes “repeatedly” abused the child between Nov. 26 and Dec. 1, 2017. The child was found to have “broken bones, a fractured skull, spinal damage, detached retinas, and other injuries” due to abuse that caused the boy’s death, according to a probable cause statement.
Early in the court process, it was made clear Nokes could be facing death. In the weeks following his arrest, Nokes’ was assigned two public defenders that were Rule 8-certified. Rule 8 in Utah’s Criminal Code stipulates the minimum requirements for attorneys representing those facing the possibility of capital punishment.
Later in June of this year, a mitigation specialist was brought in by Nokes’ attorneys to comb through the case and the defendant’s background. Mitigation experts are commonly used in death penalty cases to look for reasons why the defendant should not be sentenced to death if convicted.
With Friday’s agreement to take the death penalty off the table, Nokes could still be sentenced to a prison term of 25 years to life in prison or life in prison without parole if he is found guilty of aggravated murder.
Nokes is being held without bail at the Davis County Jail. His next court appearance will be for an arraignment hearing set for Jan. 9, 2019 in Farmington’s 2nd District Court.