Man injured in fight with girlfriend’s brother has died; DA screening new charges in case

Posted at 7:13 AM, Aug 29, 2015

HERRIMAN, Utah - A man who was on life support Saturday after a fight with his girlfriend's brother that was allegedly sparked by an incident of domestic violence has died due to his injuries, and the District Attorney is screening charges against the  deceased's assailant.

Police identified the deceased as 24-year-old Blake Burningham Saturday evening.

The victim's girlfriend told police the man had punched her after a verbal fight escalated sometime Friday nigh or early Saturday morning. Instead of notifying police, she called her brother, who came over and picked her up.

Sometime later, the brother returned to the residence in Herriman and started a heated argument with Burningham. Police said the argument came to blows.

Unified Police Department responded to a domestic violence call just before 1 a.m. Upon arrival, they saw Burningham lying in the road while a bystander performed CPR.

Police said Burningham was initially taken to Riverton hospital, but his condition was so serious he was ultimately flown to Intermountain Medical Center. A statement of probable cause states the man had multiple face fractures and went into cardiac arrest.

"Don't know what caused Mr. Burningham to go into cardiac arrest that required CPR, whether it was the punches, whether it was the fall to the ground--those are all things our investigators are investigating" said Det. Jared Richardson of the Unified Police Department.

Burningham was on life support for several hours, and just before 6 p.m. Saturday, police stated the victim had died and that new charges against the other man are being screened by the District Attorney.

Police initially booked the girlfriend's brother, identified as Cole G. Pedersen, into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of felony aggravated assault.

According to the PC Statement, Pedersen told police he had come to the residence to talk to the victim about what happened and that they begin to argue. The man stated he and the victim pushed each other, and that he then punched the victim once on the left side of the face. Pedersen told police the victim then fell to the ground, and he punched him a second time.

At that time, the victim's brother pulled Pedersen off of the victim and others in the area called emergency responders, according to Pedersen. Pedersen told police he waited for police to arrive, according to the PC statement.

Richardson said alcohol consumption may have contributed to the night's events.

"There is indications that there may have been some alcohol consumption earlier in the night between Mr. Burningham and his girlfriend and some other residents, I don't know about Mr. Pedersen," he said.

Pedersen was booked into jail on a charge of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury, but police stated now that the victim has died, other charges are being screened by the District Attorney.

Police said they urge people to call them first in any domestic violence situation rather than involving other parties or taking matters into their own hands.