Gary Hinkins pleads guilty to 5 counts of attempted murder
Gary Hinkins Jr., the 41-year-old Price man accused of severely beating his wife, then firing shotgun slugs at four law enforcement officers and wounding one last year, pleaded guilty Monday to five counts of attempted murder. Two other charges, illegal possession of a weapon and possession of several fire bombs, were dismissed in the plea agreement.
Seventh Judicial District Judge Douglas B. Thomas set sentencing for May 29 and ordered Adult Probation and Parole to prepare a pre-sentence report. The judge accepted the guilty pleas after advising Hinkins of his rights and the penalties for the second-degree felonies. Hinkins entered his pleas during what was originally scheduled as a pre-trial conference.
Second-degree felonies are punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The beating and the shooting happened Feb. 26, 2011. Mechelle Hinkins, ex-wife of the defendant, testified at a preliminary hearing that during an argument that afternoon, Hinkins beat her with a crow bar, then duct taped her face and head. She was taken to Castleview Hospital, where she was found to have a head laceration, injury to her arm and one finger nearly bludgeoned off.
Police interviewed her at the hospital. Utah Adult Probation and Parole agents Jeff Wood and Cletis Steele and deputy sheriffs Tory Christiansen and Michael Hreinson went to Hinkins' house in southwest Price to interview him. They found him in a motor home behind the house. When they ordered him to come out, he opened fire, shooting slugs through the windshield and walls of the motor home, according to their testimony.
One of the slugs hit Deputy Hreinson in his holster and key ring, shattering them and causing injuries from shrapnel. He was treated and released at Castleview.
Hinkins was captured while trying to flee the scene. Police had cordoned off the area and surrounded the motor home.
Hrienson and Christiansen later received Medals of Valor from the Sheriff's Department and received employee of the month honors in a presentation at the Carbon County Commission.