No jail time for ‘goblin topplers’

Posted at 9:37 PM, Mar 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-18 23:37:22-04

CASTLE DALE -- Two former Utah County Boy Scout leaders who toppled a prehistoric rock at Goblin Valley State Park struck a plea deal Tuesday.

Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall admitted guilt but to lesser charges. The deal means they won’t serve jail time. Instead, they’ll receive a year of probation, plus fines and restitution, which prosecutors have 30 days to determine.

On Oct. 11, Taylor pushed over a nearly 200-million-year-old sandstone formation while Hall filmed it – it was then posted it on social media. The video shows the two and Taylor's son laughing and cheering as the Jurassic-Era formation tumbled at Goblin Valley State Park.

The video went viral, sparking outrage worldwide.

Critics said Taylor and Hall vandalized a Utah natural treasure and in January, the Emery County Attorney charged the two with third-degree felonies for criminal mischief.

However, prosecutors wanted to send a message while also finding a middle ground and allowed the two to take a plea in abeyance, meaning if they pay restitution and honor their probation, their records will be wiped clean at a later date.

"In this case we don't have someone who's taking their vehicles and running over hoodoos,” said prosecutor Brent Langston. “We don't have someone maliciously damaging the park. Everyone's probably seen the video. What they did was stupid. I think they would agree it was stupid. But, are these hardened criminals? I don't think so."
Prosecutors never assessed a value to the rock and now have 30 days to determine restitution. After fees and fines, it’ll likely add up to several thousand dollars they say.

That money will pay for signage at Goblin Valley State Park and investigative costs.

"These are good men. They made a mistake and they've owned up to it and hopefully we can get past it now," said Taylor’s lawyer, Scott Card.

Taylor said off-camera he is satisfied with the deal, relieved he doesn't have to go to jail and now hoping to put an incident that made international headlines behind him.