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Murder charges have been filed against a truck driver accused of killing a Utah police officer

Prosecutors in Utah have filed murder charges against a truck driver accused of deliberately killing a police officer during a traffic stop on May 5

PROVO, Utah – Prosecutors in Utah filed aggravated murder charges Tuesday against a truck driver accused of deliberately killing a police officer during a traffic stop, but the Utah County attorney said he has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty prosecute for capital crime.

Michael Aaron Jayne, 42, will appear in court Wednesday to be advised of nine felony charges, including two counts of attempted aggravated murder for allegedly trying to kill a Utah Highway Patrol trooper and a woman whom Jayne is accused of persuading. kidnapping. Other charges allege Jayne stole other vehicles and broke into a home while fleeing officers following the May 5 traffic stop.

Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Gray said if a judge determines after a preliminary hearing that prosecutors have enough evidence to go to trial and if Jayne pleads not guilty, he will have 60 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty. to demand. A conviction for aggravated murder in Utah carries a prison sentence of at least 25 years, up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Court documents do not list an attorney for Jayne, but Gray said he would receive legal representation at Wednesday’s hearing.

Gray said he would notify the public if his office decides whether to impose the death penalty. He declined to answer questions Tuesday after announcing the charges, saying he would not comment on the case while it is ongoing.

Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser and Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Dustin Griffiths stopped the semitrailer at 6:30 a.m. May 5 in Santaquin, 65 miles south of Salt Lake City, after a 911 caller who declined to identify himself reported a person standing on the sidewalk . the rear of a semi-trailer as it traveled north on Interstate 15.

Charging documents filed Tuesday revealed that it was Jayne who called 911 and that he also reported that members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang were after him. It is not clear why Jayne called 911.

After the truck came to a stop, a woman escaped from the passenger side of the trailer and Jayne drove away. He made a U-turn and sped toward the officers, court records said.

Hooser was hit by the semi-trailer. Griffiths and the woman were able to avoid being hit, charging documents said.

The woman told investigators she had voluntarily ridden with Jayne until they got into an argument at a truck stop in Utah. He eventually forced her back into the truck, threatening violence, court records said.

Hooser’s funeral was held Monday in Orem.