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Front Page » November 18, 2003 » Local News » Law enforcement investigate standoff, murder-suicide case
Published 3,941 days ago

Law enforcement investigate standoff, murder-suicide case


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By RICHARD SHAW
Staff reporter


Julie Hunter is led away from her home by Price Police Officer Bill Barnes after she was released by Jimmy Pendleton (later taken into custody by police officers below, later that morning). The standoff, that lasted about three hours, took place in Carbonville.

An apparent early morning homocide/suicide on Friday, a short standoff in south Price late Friday morning and another standoff between a man with an arrest warrant in Carbonville on Sunday kept the Carbon County Sheriffs department, Utah Highway Patrol and Price police officers busy this weekend.

On Friday morning at 5:03 a.m. Carbon County dispatch received a 911 call from Betty Flon, 49. Flon reported that her father, Claude Duncan, 86, came into her room and woke her up to tell her that he had just shot her husband in the living room and that he was going outside to kill himself.

Mrs. Flon later told officers that she had heard the first shot, but thought that she was dreaming and started to fall back to sleep when her father came into her room.

Deputies Chris Basso and Levi Oman arrived at the home at 5:11 a.m. and on approaching the home from the north could see someone sitting near the porch, with a shotgun in their hands. The deputies could tell the person was obviously dead by what appeared to be a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head.

Meanwhile Price City Officer Kevin Mele had also arrived at the scene. Upon entering the house, the three found Marvel Joe Flon, 43, in the front room with a gun shot to his head. He was also deceased.

Based on information the sheriff's department has been able to gather, the family had had a number of disputes about various things over the past few months, with the Flon's moving in and out of the house a few times. Apparently Mr. Flon came home from work at Savage Trucking about 4:00 a.m. and then got into an argument with his father-in-law. He was seated in a chair in the living room apparently eating a bowl of popcorn when Duncan alledgedly shot him.

Duncan then went to his daughters room and woke her up.

"I just shot Joe and now I am going out to kill myself," he reportedly told her.

The daughter then called dispatch to report the situation.

"The investigation is still on-going but we are pretty sure about what happened," said Guy Adams, Chief Deputy Sheriff on Monday morning. "The medical examiners office is reporting to us that with what they have seen they agree with our analysis."

Not long after that incident, dispatch received a report of a suicidal man south of Price. The report apparently came from a passerby who had seen the man cutting his wrists.

Sgt. John Kelly of the Highway Patrol and Deputy Kyle Kulow arrived on the scene, and got the man, Joseph Preston, 25, to drop the knife so he could be taken for medical care.

"There was really never a threat to officers in this case, but he did still have the knife when they first talked with him," said Adams.

Because of his injuries, he was transferred to the Wasatch Front for medical treatment.

On Sunday morning an agreement for a man to turn himself into deputies on a warrant out of Provo grew into a confrontation between police and the man in a mobile home in Carbonville.

Sheriff's deputies reportedly started to negotiate for him to turn himself in at about 3:30 a.m. in the morning. The man, Jimmy Pendleton, was supposed to have his sister bring him to the jail to do so.

However, later that morning he called dispatch and told them that he was thinking about killing his girlfriend, her son and himself. At that point things changed dramatically.

"Up to that point it wasn't a big deal," said Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova. "It was just a misdemeanor warrant for $1,100 and if he had turned himself in it wouldn't have been much. But once he called dispatch and made those threats we had to act to protect everyone's life."

Cordova decided to call in the SWAT team and he also went to the scene himself.

Pendleton was talking with police during the incident and asked that if he did surrender he wanted it to be to Price police officer Manny Escoto, rather than to a county sheriff.

The sheriff ordered everyone to stay back from the mobile home while retired police officer Julie Ori and Price officer Bill Barnes negotiated with Pendleton. Escoto, Barnes and Cordova stood on the street near the home while the negotiations were going on.

Pendleton first released the little boy and then later his girlfriend, Julie Hunter, whose home he was negotiating from. During the negotiations he threated to perform "suicide by cop" so police officials were reluctant to go into the house.

Officers continued to talk with him and eventually he agreed to come out, but did not.

"After he said he would come out he kept stalling by saying he had to do this and that," said Cordova. "Finally Barnes went to the kitchen window and distracted him and then I ordered the SWAT team into the house."

The SWAT team knocked the door down and arrested him without a struggle.

"There was some concern that he had a gun but when we got inside all we found were prop guns," explained Cordova. "There was a blank starter pistol and two unusable black powder pistols."

Pendleton was booked into the Carbon County Jail on charges of child endangerment, intoxication, possession of illegal paraphenalia, disorderly conduct, terroristic threats and for the warrant which started the whole thing.

"It would have been simple but he decided to stage it as a hostage situation and we had to act appropriately," concluded Cordova.


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