Lyman man faces prison after standoff with police

EVANSTON — A Bridger Valley man is facing a maximum of 28 years in prison for events that occurred in Lyman on Jan. 21. Jonathon P. Burkett, 29, is charged with aggravated burglary, wrongful taking or disposing of property, reckless endangering, interfering with a peace officer and use of methamphetamine. 

On the morning of Jan. 21, Lyman Police Officer Jason Forsgren reported to John’s Bar after the owner of the bar called police when she found Burkett in the bar office going through her personal belongings. According to court documents, the bar owner said Burkett was in possession of a handgun at the time she confronted him and told him to leave the bar. 

Sgt. Andy Kopp of the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office subsequently located Burkett at his parents’ home in Lyman, and Forsgren and Mountain View Police Officer Bobby Eggleston joined Kopp at that residence. Burkett was still in possession of the handgun in a makeshift holster and refused to disarm when asked to do so several times by responding officers. 

An affidavit filed by law enforcement said, “Burkett stated if we stepped any closer, he would use the gun and that he was faster than officers on scene. On several occasions Burkett reached for the gun in a threatening manner coming within inches of the handgun but did not draw the weapon.” 

The affidavit states Burkett was very agitated, and officers were concerned for the safety of Burkett’s family members inside the home, including children. Burkett exited the residence, which officers allowed in an effort to reduce the risk to those inside the home, but he continued to refuse to disarm or obey commands from officers. Burkett allegedly continued to state he was a faster draw than officers on the scene. 

When told he was under arrest for criminal entry at the bar, Burkett continued to refuse to cooperate and ultimately reached for the gun, getting his hand to the pistol grip as officers rushed in to grab his hand, take him to the ground and disarm him. The gun was later found to be a stolen Ruger Blackhawk .357. 

Following his arrest, Burkett was transported to Evanston Regional Hospital for evaluation. While at ERH, he allegedly admitted to smoking methamphetamine earlier that morning and urinalysis at the hospital confirmed the presence of the drug. 

Burkett’s case has been bound over to Third District Court, where an arraignment has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26. His bond has been set at $30,000 cash or surety. 

The felony aggravated burglary charge carries a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison, a $50,000 fine or both. The other four counts are misdemeanors with the wrongful taking or disposing of property and use of methamphetamine charges each carrying a possible sentence of six months, a $750 fine or both. The charges of interfering with a peace officer and reckless endangering each carry a possible sentence of one year, a $750 fine or both.

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