Teen accused in Toquerville slaying appears in court

Posted at 4:20 PM, Mar 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-26 08:06:41-04

ST. GEORGE -- A 17-year-old boy accused of killing a Toquerville woman made his first appearance in court today, where he was charged with a dozen crimes.

Joshua Canfield appeared in 5th District Court via a video link from the Purgatory Jail. He was formally charged with first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery; second-degree felony arson, theft, obstruction of justice; third-degree felony assault, drug possession, class A misdemeanor theft and assault against a police officer.

Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap told FOX 13 he filed adult-level charges against Canfield in the death of 58-year-old Geraldine Bommarito. However, the teen would not face the death penalty, if convicted.

"In Utah, under the law, if a juvenile is aged 16-or-17, and is charged with murder then it automatically is filed in adult court," he said. "In fact, that's the only option under Utah law."

Defense attorney Aric Cramer said he would still seek to have Canfield remanded back to juvenile court.

"We will ask to not have him certified as an adult," he said.

A probable cause statement filed by police in the Purgatory Jail reveal that officers responded to a report of a burglary at Geraldine Bommarito's home. Two firearms and collectible coins had been taken, deputies wrote.

"Canfield was later seen at a convenience store in Washington City where he made a purchase using coins consistent with those taken in the burglary," deputies wrote.

At Bommarito's home, her body was found.

"The cause of death appeared to be a gunshot wound," deputies wrote.

Canfield was found in Springdale on March 19. Deputies claim to have found a pair of guns on him. He fought with officers. Deputies say he attempted to harm himself.

Belnap refused to reveal a motive for the crime. Canfield is due back in court in a couple of weeks.