Promoting marijuana legalization possible motive for man who drove up Utah Capitol steps

Posted at 12:56 PM, Oct 23, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY -- The plot thickens in the case of a Layton man who drove up the steps of the Utah Capitol and tried to break into the old Supreme Court: Police said the suspect was hiding a crime in his house.

Cops said 36-year-old Gerald Weston Green had a small marijuana grow in the basement of his home in Layton.  Police said Green told investigators he wants marijuana to be legalized, and that may have been what prompted his actions at the Capitol Tuesday.

On Wednesday, cops searched his home and the Davis County Health Department shut the residence down as a hazardous material team removed possible evidence of a small hydroponic marijuana grow.

"We were so surprised because he's just not that kind of a person," said neighbor Rodger Sparks. "He's the kind of guy you’d want for a son-in-law. Serious."

"I'm just really sad that he did that and grew that and that we didn't know, there was just no clues, nothing," added neighbor Brenda Oveson.

Neighbors said they did notice the blinds were consistently closed. According to police, Green had a couple dozen pot plants.

"As far as thousands of plants, no, this was fairly small," said Capt. Tyler Cotter, who is with the State Bureau of Investigations.

It's unclear what the suspect was doing with the grow, but investigators don't think he intended to distribute the drug.

On Tuesday, state troopers said Green drove a pick-up truck up three tiers of stairs outside the Capitol's west entrance, then parked the vehicle underneath the governor's office.

When neighbor Brenda Oveson made the connection, "It was so weird,” she said. “I was like, 'that can't be him,' it's so out of character, very out of character for him."

Cops said Green kicked the doors to the historic Supreme Court chambers and took a swing at a state trooper when confronted.

"As far as a motive, we haven't really nailed that down, but he did tell investigators specifically he was at Capitol Hill to promote the legalization of marijuana," Cotter said.

After searching his home and truck, police said they didn't find weapons or any sign that Green wanted to hurt anyone.  And aside from a DUI conviction, he has no significant criminal record in Utah.  This appears to be one man's way of making a political point.

"We're just as a neighborhood really sad for him and feel bad for him that he made that decision, it's just bizarre," Oveson said.

Green has not been booked into jail yet.  For now, he remains at LDS Hospital undergoing a mental evaluation.  His family gave no comment to FOX 13 News.