Jenna Holm prelimimary hearing

Defense attorney Jordan Crane addresses the court during the preliminary hearing for Jenna Holm at the Bonneville County Courthouse on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

Defense attorneys for Jenna Holm filed a motion to dismiss her manslaughter charge Wednesday, a month before the scheduled jury trial.

The motion argues that Holm was not legally responsible for the death of Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputy Wyatt Maser, citing the prosecution’s stance that Sgt. Randy Flegel did not commit an unlawful act.

Holm was arrested in May 2020 after Maser was killed while responding to a crash involving Holm. According to court records, Flegel hit and killed Maser while driving to the scene of the crash to provide assistance.

The Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office charged Holm with involuntary manslaughter, arguing that her failure to cooperate when law enforcement tried to help her caused Maser’s death.

Court records state Holm did not cooperate with law enforcement who responded to the crash and attempted to walk away from deputies on the road while brandishing a machete. She reportedly had swung the machete at Maser when he arrived on scene.

Maser reportedly was crossing the road to handcuff Holm after another deputy used a Taser on her when he was hit by Flegel.

Both the prosecutor’s office and the sheriff’s office have cleared Flegel of wrongdoing, and he has returned to work at the sheriff’s office.

Bonneville County Chief Public Defender Jordan Crane argues in his motion to dismiss that by declaring that Flegel killing Maser was not unlawful, Holm also is legally cleared as well.

“Flegel did the killing in this case, that is Flegel committed homicide,” Crane wrote in the motion. “Based upon the defense’s understanding, the state’s position is that Flegel’s killing of Maser was excusable.”

Crane goes on to argue that “(b)ecause the state contends that Flegel’s killing of Maser was not unlawful, the state cannot use that killing to form the basis of a manslaughter charge (against Holm).”

The defense also argued that the case should be dismissed, citing a 2010 Idaho Supreme Court ruling in State v Pina.

In that 2010 case, Juan Carlos Fuentes-Pina was convicted of first-degree murder after he kidnapped a man, Jesse Naranjo, at gunpoint. Naranjo was later shot and killed by a third man, Johnny Shores, after Pina passed the gun to Shores and Naranjo attempted to escape.

{span}Shores pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to prison. Pina took the case to trial and was convicted of first-degree murder. He appealed, and the Supreme Court sided with Pina in a 3-2 ruling. {/span}

{span}The case cites two theories of felony murder, the agency theory and the proximate cause theory. Under the agency theory, two people who plan and commit a felony together are both guilty of first-degree murder if one of them kills a person in the commission of that felony. {/span}

{span}Under the proximate cause theory, however, a person who commits a felony is guilty of first-degree murder if a victim is killed by a third party as a result of the felony, even if the killer and the felon did not conspire to commit the felony together. {/span}

{span}The Idaho Supreme Court ruled that Idaho law follows the agency theory, and that because the jury in Pina’s case was instructed that he could be convicted under the proximate cause theory, his conviction did not stand. A new trial was ordered in Pina’s case. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. {/span}

{span}Crane’s motion to dismiss attempts to apply the agency theory of felony murder to Holm’s manslaughter case, arguing that because Holm and Flegel did not conspire to commit a crime together, Holm is not legally responsible for Flegel’s killing of Maser. {/span}

{span}Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Alayne Bean said the prosecutors on the case intend to file a response to Crane’s motion. {/span}

{span}The defense also filed subpoenas in preparation for a jury trial scheduled to begin Sept. 8. Among those subpoenaed by the defense are Bonneville County Sheriff Sam Hulse, Lt. Kevin Casper, Lt. Lisa Prudent, Deputy Benjamin Bottcher and Flegel. Idaho State Police detectives Matt Wall and Michael Fox were also subpoenaed. Kent Buttars, a civilian who was on scene during the incident, also was subpoenaed.{/span}

{span}A jury trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 8 and through the week. District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. is presiding over the case. {/span}

{span}Involuntary manslaughter is punishable with up to 10 years in prison. Holm is also charged with aggravated assault, punishable with up to five years in prison. {/span}

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