Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Assailants Of D.J. Bell And Dan Fair Appear In Court In Salt Lake City, Want Charges Dropped, Complain About Not Being Allowed To Start Website

Seven people accused of assaulting a D.J. Bell and Dan Fair on July 4th, 2008 appeared in court on Tuesday May 4th, 2010, and at least one of their attorneys wants the case dropped. Primary stories published by the Deseret News, KSL Channel 5 and KSTU Channel 13. This case has been previously documented on this blog in this series of posts, in reverse chronological order. Bell and Fair tell their story on Injustice801. KSL news video:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com



Attorneys for the defendants say their clients are the victims in the case. Five of them appeared in court together: Lulu Latu, Lisa Aiono, Marsha Finau, Angelina Dibella and David Mageo. Two others, Ricky Peace and Ietitaia Nuusila, are in custody. Prosecutors charged some of them with riot, others with aggravated assault, for allegedly beating David James "DJ" Bell and his partner, Dan Fair, in their home after a Fourth of July party in 2008. The charging documents are still available HERE; the particulars, as previously listed HERE:

— Tapululululu "Lulu" Latu, 30, charged with riot, a third-degree felony. It is believed she deliberately waited until after her five cohorts staged the home invasion before calling 911.

— Lisa Rita Aiono, 26, charged with riot, a third-degree felony.

— Marsha Rae Finau, 30, charged with riot, a third-degree felony.

— Angelina Janae Dibella, 31, charged with riot, a third-degree felony and assault, a class A misdemeanor.

— Ricky Ian Peace, 33, charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated assault, first-degree felonies, and riot, a third-degree felony.

— Ieti David Mageo, 32, charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated assault, first-degree felonies, and riot, a third-degree felony. Mageo also has a criminal history of previous home invasions.

— Ietitaia Tavita Nuusila, 26, charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated assault, first-degree felonies; riot, a third-degree felony; assault, a class A misdemeanor; and giving false personal information to a peace officer, a class A misdemeanor.

Lisa Aiono's defense attorney Clayton Simms says that, according to the District Attorney's Office, the defendants originally did nothing wrong, and now they're changing theories. He's concluded that charges should never have been filed. Furthermore, according to this April 23rd KSTU story, Ricky Peace is claiming that prosecutors promised him he would not face felony charges for the self-incriminating testimony he gave during D.J. Bell's kidnapping trial. Simms also filed a motion to dismiss because he thinks the state has taken too long to file the charges. Potentially more controversial, however, is Simms' request that the DA's office recuse itself because one of the prosecutors in the kidnapping trial now appears on the state's witness list.

Meanwhile, Taylor Hartley, who is defending Lulu Latu, is unhappy that Judge Judith Atherton ordered his client not to put up a website that describes her point of view, what happened and asking for support, despite the fact that Bell and Fair have told their story on Injustice801. Hartley claims that the judge's decision violates her first amendment rights.

Hartley's on solid ground here. If Bell and Fair can have a website which explains their story to the public, then the seven accused assailants should also be allowed to put up a website which allows them to explain their own position. That would preserve a level "public relations" playing field. The only caveat I would attach is that the content of Lulu Latu's proposed website would have to be vetted by a judge to ensure nothing of a libelous or defamatory nature be published. The alternative would be to require Bell and Fair to take down their website during the trial, but this would be impractical, since the story has been published on other websites.

Their next scheduled court appearance will be in July. They are under an order to have no contact with Bell and Fair.

As for Bell, he says he still fears for his life. He says he's been taunted, and there have been threats made against him on websites like Facebook. He says he would like to see plea deals in the case to get it over with. "I've been the victim of two crimes: one, an assault; and the other, a lie that caused my trial in the first place. And it's destroyed my life, and I want to get it back," Bell said. Dan Fair also weighed in; "We are very sincere about seeing our attackers put behind bars".

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