Defendant in Ogden fatal shooting to undergo mental evaluation
OGDEN — The mental health of an Ogden man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of a teenager will be evaluated before he is sentenced.
Zedekiah Pool, 19, pleaded guilty last October to second-degree felony manslaughter in the May 5, 2022, death of a 15-year-old in Pool’s apartment. Charging documents said Pool was loading and unloading a 9 mm handgun when it went off, the shot hitting the victim in the neck.
Pool had been scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday by 2nd District Judge Noel Hyde, but Pool’s attorney, James Retallick of the Weber Public Defender Group, sought a continuance and filed an amended statement of plea. A victim’s rights attorney objected to the continuance, but the new plea — guilty and mentally ill — triggered a process for handling such cases.
In response to the amended plea, Hyde signed an order on Wednesday directing that the Utah Department of Health and Human Services evaluate Pool’s present mental state. According to court records, Pool has expressed suicidal thoughts in the Weber County Jail.
Once the evaluation is received, Hyde will either impose a prison or jail term under normal procedure, or he will order Pool committed to the Utah State Hospital for treatment.
Sentencing is now scheduled for April 25.
On the day of the shooting, Pool was trying to stem the bleeding when officers arrived. The teenager was hospitalized and died May 8.
An investigation found that Pool was “somewhat familiar” with guns and gun safety and was “aware of firearm danger generally,” a charging document said, and he was aware the teenager was in the room as he was loading and unloading the gun.
“It appears the defendant did not knowingly point the firearm at (the teen) and did not knowingly pull the firearm’s trigger,” police said in the May 19 document.
Pool had consumed marijuana before the shooting, and officers said they found inside the apartment a substantial psilocybin mushroom growing operation. Prosecutors also charged Pool with possessing clandestine laboratory precursors and equipment, a second-degree felony, and possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony. Those two charges were dropped in the plea bargain.