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Man sent to prison for shovel attack against Ogden City parks worker

By Mark Shenefelt - | Sep 29, 2021

BEN DORGER, Standard-Examiner file photo

The 2nd District Court is seen on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in downtown Ogden.

OGDEN — An Ogden City parks employee injured in a May 20 shovel attack urged the judge Wednesday to send his assailant to prison.

“I felt like his first blow to my head was meant to kill me,” the man said. “I know how to fight, but if it would have been anyone else in the park, they would be dead.”

Marty Alan Ricks, 27, appeared before 2nd District Judge Jennifer Valencia to be sentenced on a third-degree felony charge of aggravated assault stemming from the incident at 4th Street Park.

“I think it was more like attempted murder,” the parks worker said. Ricks’ attorney asked Valencia to give his client credit for 130 days already spent in jail and be released on probation so he can continue treatment for mental illness while under supervision.

“That’s an easy sentence,” the victim said. “He needs to have more than just that.”

Charging documents said the parks employee arrived at work that morning to find Ricks sitting on a city-owned golf cart. The man asked Ricks what he was doing and Ricks said he was taking the cart. The employee said he couldn’t do that and Ricks picked up a shovel.

Ricks repeatedly swung and stabbed at the worker, who fought back, punching Ricks several times, and used a screwdriver to fend him off. Ricks ran away and police soon arrested him.

The worker had several cuts on his head, face and neck and bruises on his hands and face. One of the cuts near the worker’s eyebrow was deep and had to be closed with staples. Other cuts required stitches.

Defense attorney Shawn Smith told Valencia that Ricks suffers from mental illness “but he is now getting the medication he needs” in the Weber County Jail. “I can attest that from speaking to him then and now, he is a whole different person,” Smith said.

Smith said Ricks is remorseful. “He does understand it could have been much worse,” he said. “The jail has helped him get medication and he is stabilized,” Smith said, adding that probation, continued medication and structure on probation is preferable to imprisonment and then release.

But deputy Weber County Attorney Letitia Toombs argued that Ricks has performed poorly when on probation for drug offenses in the past and, “he is an intensive risk to reoffend.”

Ricks was already on probation in a different case “when he comes out and brutally attacks a man who is out simply trying to do his job,” Toombs said.

The assault also had an emotional impact on the man’s family, Toombs said. His wife and oldest daughter had been planning to start work at the park, a popular site for softball leagues, but they decided not to “because they no longer feel safe there,” Toombs said.

Ricks said mental illness runs in his family and he has experienced hallucinations and heard voices in his head. “I was able to find peace and get on the right medications” in the jail, he said. “I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for what happened.”

In a June plea bargain, Ricks pleaded no contest to the assault charge and the Weber County Attorney’s Office in return dropped counts of third-degree felony use of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession.

Valencia opted to sentence Ricks to up to five years in prison. “The severity of your conduct is simply too great for me to say you could be supervised safely in the community on probation,” the judge told Ricks. “This was a serious, violent crime and I’m not willing to take the chance that this may happen to another victim.”

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