Lyman man to serve probation for January standoff/plea bargain

Jonathon P. Burkett

EVANSTON — Lyman man Jonathon P. Burkett will serve two years of supervised probation following an armed standoff with law enforcement that occurred in January.

The sentence is the result of a plea agreement with the Uinta County Attorney’s Office, through which Burkett agreed to plead no contest to two counts and guilty to a third while two additional counts were dismissed.

Burkett, 29, was arrested on Jan. 21, following a string of events that ended in the standoff. Burkett was reportedly armed with a handgun when he entered John’s Bar in Lyman in the morning hours while the business was closed, where he was caught and confronted by the bar owner.

Burkett left the bar and the owner called law enforcement, who later located Burkett at his parents’ home in Lyman.

During his change of plea hearing in Third District Court on Friday, May 17, Burkett’s public defender Dean Stout said his client’s memory of that morning is hazy, but court documents indicate he was still armed and refused to disarm when law enforcement officers made contact with him. An affidavit in the case, which Judge Joseph Bluemel relied partially on in finding a factual basis for the plea, said Burkett repeatedly reached for the gun in a makeshift holster at his side while claiming “he was faster than officers on scene.”

Burkett was finally arrested after reaching for the gun and being taken to the ground by responding officers. Initial charges included aggravated burglary, wrongful taking or disposing of property, reckless endangering, interfering with a peace officer and use of methamphetamine after Burkett admitted to smoking the drug earlier in the day, which was confirmed by urinalysis.

Through the plea agreement, the charges of wrongful taking or disposing of property and use of methamphetamine were dismissed. Burkett entered pleas of no contest to a reduced charge of burglary and reckless endangering and a guilty plea to the charge of interfering with a peace officer.

Bluemel accepted both Burkett’s pleas and the plea agreement, which included one year in jail, with credit for 126 days already served and the remainder suspended. Burkett was sentenced to two years of probation for the burglary charge on count one and one year of probation for each of the other charges, to run consecutive to one another but concurrent with the probation on the burglary count.

Stout said Burkett had no record of prior felonies and wanted to step up and take responsibility for his actions. He also indicated his client was making plans for continued treatment of his bipolar disorder, noting Burkett was off his medications and likely in a manic phase when the standoff occurred. For that reason, Bluemel said Burkett would also be required to remain on medications for bipolar disorder and successfully complete a treatment program during his probation.

In addition to the probation, Burkett was ordered to pay approximately $1,150 in court and attorney fees.

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