Booking photo for Mathew A. Jester (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)
LOGAN — Sentencing for a 25-year-old Logan man convicted of assaulting a woman and strangling another man has been postponed. A judge continued the sentencing for Mathew Jester, after the defendant began claiming he was under hypnosis.
Jester participated in a virtual sentencing hearing in 1st District Court Monday morning, appearing by web conference from the Cache County Jail. He had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.
Jester told the court he was hypnotized against his will in 2018 and 2019 after witnessing his friend’s murder. He claimed to still be under the effects of the hypnosis, causing him sometimes to cramp up and scream in pain. He also rambled about being abused by jail guards but didn’t provide any specific details.
Judge Brandon Maynard expressed concern for Jester’s health. He asked for a competency evaluation to determine whether the defendant comprehended what was taking place.
Public defender Joe Saxton, who previously represented Jester until the defendant said he was going to hire a new attorney, told the court Jester had been determined competent to stand trial previously. He told Judge Maynard, he would file a request for a new examination.
According to an arrest report, a Logan City police officer was called to a domestic dispute on August 7. Jester had reportedly assaulted two family members.
One of the victims said Jester had become agitated over money. He hugged the woman tightly until she was unable to breathe. He then grabbed her head with both hands and squeezed “until she felt a lot of pain,” according to the report.
The second victim stated that he tried to remove Jester from the home after the defendant assaulted the woman. The two men began fighting. During the brawl, Jester wrapped his forearm around the man’s neck and strangulated him to the point where he lost consciousness.
Jester told officers he was trying to defend himself. He was highly intoxicated and later booked into jail.
During Monday’s hearing, Judge Maynard ordered Jester to remain incarcerated. He also scheduled him to appear again in court July 12.