Jonathan Mendoza Llana, suspect in Interstate 84 murder

llana

BRIGHAM CITY (AP) — A mental competency evaluation has been ordered for a Los Angeles man accused of shooting a motorist to death on Interstate 84 in May.

Judge Brandon Maynard scheduled an Aug. 26 hearing in 1st District Court to review the findings of alienists he appointed in July to evaluate Jonathan Mendoza Llana’s competency to stand trial.

A high-powered rifle was used to kill Dennis Gwyther, 50, of Salt Lake City, in the May 23 incident near Tremonton, according to autopsy results reported in a Utah State Bureau of Investigation warrant.

Idaho State Police said Llana was stopped in Cassia County but he fled and crashed his Volkswagen Jetta into a canal, the warrant said.

He was found and arrested the next day and was returned to Brigham City in June to face charges of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and six counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm, all first-degree felonies.

Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the shooting of Gwyther. The victim’s passenger was wounded in the shooting but survived.

A Utah state investigator said in the search warrant for Llana’s car that she found a Ruger p80 9mm pistol on the front passenger floorboard of the car. She did not find a rifle.

Llana remains held without bail at the Box Elder County Jail.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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