State charges Pendleton with murder, kidnapping
The state of Utah represented by Jeremy Humes leveled Murder and Aggravated Kidnapping charges against a Carbon County man in connection with the July 29 death of Brian Swink by smoke inhalation.
James William Pendleton Jr., 38, of Price, appeared before Judge George Harmond from the Carbon County Jail on Wednesday.
Pendleton's first appearance in connection with Swink's death took place over the county's video arraignment system just after 2:30 p.m.
Harmond began the proceeding by informing the defendant of the charges, which include: Murder, a first degree felony; Aggravated Kidnapping, a first degree felony; Conspiracy, a second degree felony and Aggravated Assaulted, a third degree felony.
"Tell the state good luck convicting on these charges," said Pendleton.
Harmond asked the defendant if he could afford an attorney, Pendleton said he could not.
"My house just burned down, and that was all I had," he said. Pendleton's house was where Swink's body was discovered by firefighters.
The state medical examiner later determined that Swink died from smoke inhalation from the fire
When Judge Harmond asked if Pendleton objected to being represented by Don Torgerson, the defendant did raise some concerns.
"I think Torgerson is a good attorney, but his calendar is so full. I'm worried he won't be able to take the time I'm going to need because of the severity of these charges," explained Pendleton.
Judge Harmond scheduled a hearing with State's Attorney Humes, Torgerson and the defendant on September 2 to hear Pendleton's concerns about Torgerson's ability to defend him.