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Release possible for mentally ill man who killed mother in 2006

By Mark Shenefelt - | Oct 5, 2022

BENJAMIN ZACK, Standard-Examiner file photo

Jeremy Jacob Hauck, left, speaks with defense attorney Todd Utzinger after Hauck was found not guilty by reason of insanity at the 2nd District Court in Farmington on Monday, Mar. 4, 2013. Hauck was arrested in 2006 after killing his mother in Bountiful.

LAYTON — A judge is weighing a request to grant the conditional release of Jeremy Hauck, who has been receiving treatment at Utah State Hospital in Orem since he was committed after killing his mother and stuffing her body into a freezer 16 years ago.

At a 2nd District Court hearing before Judge Ronald Russell last week, state hospital staff members testified that Hauck, 34, has progressed greatly over the years and his paranoid schizophrenia is well-controlled by medication.

The staff recommended in an April report that Hauck be allowed to move off-campus, with continuing conditions including twice-weekly therapy sessions, random blood and urine tests to verify adherence to medication intake, monthly sessions with the hospital team and a ban on possessing firearms.

In 2013, Hauck was found not guilty due to mental illness and a judge sentenced him to 15 years to life in the hospital, the same term he would have received if convicted of murder and sentenced to prison.

Defense attorney Todd Utzinger said in a September court filing that state hospital personnel determined that Hauck, then 18, was experiencing “data stream” delusions and “an absence of reality” when he killed Laurel Hauck, 51, on Aug. 5, 2006, in their Bountiful apartment. He shot her twice in the head and slit her throat.

Although Hauck continues to have a mental illness, hospital staff concluded that he “no longer presents a substantial danger to himself or others.”

Since 2018, Hauck has been granted off-campus passes for unsupervised attendance at Mountainland Technical College, Utzinger said. He also has taken several Brigham Young University psychology courses to better understand his illness, the attorney said.

Gage Arnold, a prosecutor in the Davis County Attorney’s Office, said by email Wednesday that the agency opposes Hauck’s release. He said the state hospital’s conditional release plan “does not ensure the defendant can be adequately controlled on supervision.”

Judge Ronald Russell took the case under advisement.

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