SALT LAKE CITY, UT— On June 11, LaTroi Newbins was released to home confinement, pending trial after claiming he had been trying to douse the fire he was charged with setting. The fire in question was a burning police car during a day of civil unrest in Salt Lake City.
Newbins, 28, said in his testimony on June 9 that he used water bottles to put out the fire. After, he allegedly tried to use a poster board doused in water to further extinguish the fire. He stated by then, the flames were too big. The fire was burning on an overturned police car at 400 South near 200 East on May 30.
“I wasn’t down there trying to vandalize anything. That wasn’t the purpose,” he said.
According to U.S. attorney Drew Yeates, the poster board was meant to serve as kindling for the fire rather than to put it out.
The initial hearing for Newbins’ case was heard through a video call due to the pandemic. Two other men were charged over the burning police car. One is Jackson Stuart Tamowski Patton, 26; the other is Connor Peebles, 21. According to Yates, three others might also be charged.
Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead decided on June 11 to release Newbins to home confinement, pending trial. He stated it was a “close call”. Yeats argued Newbins should remain in custody due to his previous criminal charges. Some of these include fleeing from police, DUI, drug possession, and not appearing in court.
His release includes a list of conditions, such as not living with his wife and kids. This is allegedly due to a 2017 domestic violence charge that was dismissed. He must also submit to a mental health evaluation, drug tests, and must find a job or attend school.