PAYSON, Utah — Three more suspects have been arrested in connection to a January assault on a Latter-day Saint missionary in Payson, Utah that is being investigated as a hate crime.
The suspects arrested were listed as Nathan Thomas of Nephi, a 17-year-old male and 16-year-old male who will not be identified because they are minors. Thomas was booked into the Utah County Jail on criminal mischief and assault. The 17-year-old was booked into the Slate Canyon Detention Center on criminal mischief and assault. The 16-year-old was also booked into Slate Canyon and faces charges of aggravated assault, criminal mischief and obstruction of justice.
According to a probable cause statement, on Jan. 28, a black Panamanian missionary was with his companion headed to teach a lesson when they were confronted by four to six individuals in the area of 200 N and 100 E in Payson.
The group only targeted the Panamanian, reportedly shouting racial slurs at the missionary and throwing the missionary's phone in the road before attacking him and knocking him to the ground. The group attempted to hold the missionary down to continue the attack but the victim was able to escape before the suspects fled the scene. The victim was assessed by Payson Fire and Rescue but he was not transported. During the incident, the missionary's phone and glasses were broken.
In the following days, brothers Sebastian Francis West,19, and Malachi Bay West, 20, were arrested in connection to the assault and charged with a hate crime. Upon further interviews and investigations, the three suspects were identified and interviewed, police later determined the three were involved in the incident. Two of the suspects admitted to being involved, but claim the attack was in self-defense. The third suspect was implicated through other information obtained.
All charges have been requested by the Payson Police Department to include a gang enhancement, as well as hate crime classifications.