A Cache Valley man accused of attempting to kill a man with a hatchet last week was arraigned in 1st District Court on Monday.
Ethan Drake Mortensen, 20, has been charged with a single count of attempted murder, a first-degree felony. He could face 5 years to life in the Utah State Prison if convicted.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court, Smithfield Police Department officers responded to a report of attempted murder on Thursday. Police wrote that a witness at the scene heard Mortensen and the alleged victim fighting in the garage of a Smithfield home. The witness told police Mortensen had a hatchet raised in the direction of the alleged victim and he proceeded to tackle Mortensen in an effort to save the victim.
The alleged victim told police, according to the affidavit, that a dispute started with Mortensen over his consumption of alcohol. During the argument, police wrote, Mortensen retrieved a hatchet and knife from a tan backpack and began screaming and threatening self-harm. When the victim tried to calm Mortensen, police wrote he turned on the man and threatened to kill him.
Cache County prosecutor Griffin Hazard told the court the victim had defensive wounds from the attack. Additionally, Hazard said Mortensen had a blood alcohol concentration of .273 during the incident.
Mortensen was transported to a local hospital after the incident and was booked into the Cache County Jail on Thursday. During his initial appearance, Judge Angela Fonnesbeck ordered Mortensen to be held without bail.
The aforementioned witness was also booked into jail on Thursday for suspicion of second-degree obstructing justice. According to a separate affidavit filed with the court, the witness had removed the tan backpack from the scene and placed it inside the home. The witness told police he moved the backpack to protect Mortensen’s property and didn’t remove any items from the bag. Police wrote the witness was trying to keep the bag away from police, but there was no evidence to support he had removed items. Charges against the witness have not been filed.
Mortensen was scheduled to appear in front of Judge Brian Cannell on July 20.