Gavel. Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
LOGAN — The jury trial for a 65-year-old Perry man accused of threatening to kill a family in their Mendon home has been postponed. Charles W. Leff is being held in the Cache County Jail without bail since being arrested more than a year ago.
Leff participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Wednesday morning, appearing by web conference from jail. He has been charged with five counts of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; four counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person; and, two counts of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony. Also, he has been charged with five misdemeanors.
Judge Brian Cannell said that COVID-19 restrictions on in-person hearings still prohibited the court from holding the upcoming trial for Leff, scheduled for June 10. He expressed hope that conditions are improving and limitations will soon be lifted. He also noted that the court had ordered Plexiglas shields for the courtroom and reached out to retired judges, to assist with cases, once the Utah State Supreme Court lifts the restrictions.
Prosecutors allege Cache County Sheriff’s deputies received a report of Leff driving from Perry to Mendon with the intent to kill multiple alleged victims on the morning of January 24, 2020. One of the alleged victim called 911 after seeing Leff driving past their home.
Deputies report, during the call you can hear the alleged victim’s voice and the terror as she explains that Leff was on his way over to her home “to take her and the kids out.” She described that he had multiple guns with him in his car and had just driven past her house.
Deputies conducted a traffic stop and took the suspect into custody without incident. Leff admitted to packing a suitcase with clothing, medications and four handguns; he told deputies he was leaving the area to live in Oregon and took the firearms so his wife wouldn’t have access to the guns.
Leff told deputies he never intended to kill the alleged victims but was intending to apologize for a prior dispute.
Prosecutors claim that while in jail, Leff made several phone calls to a friend. During the conversations, he asked the man to contact his wife and encourage her to recant her statements to law enforcement. He explained that he was looking at “serious prison time” if she didn’t. The phone calls were allegedly in violation of a protective order the woman had filed earlier against the suspect.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Cannell ordered Leff to remain in jail and appear again in court June 2, for a pre-trial conference.
Court records show Leff was previously convicted of sodomy of a child, lewdness of a child, aggravated assault and threatening another person with a weapon. He could face up to life in prison if convicted on these new charges.