Man injured in fight with girlfriend’s brother has died; DA screening new charges in case

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HERRIMAN, Utah - A man who was on life support Saturday after a fight with his girlfriend's brother that was allegedly sparked by an incident of domestic violence has died due to his injuries, and the District Attorney is screening charges against the  deceased's assailant.

Police identified the deceased as 24-year-old Blake Burningham Saturday evening.

The victim's girlfriend told police the man had punched her after a verbal fight escalated sometime Friday nigh or early Saturday morning. Instead of notifying police, she called her brother, who came over and picked her up.

Sometime later, the brother returned to the residence in Herriman and started a heated argument with Burningham. Police said the argument came to blows.

Unified Police Department responded to a domestic violence call just before 1 a.m. Upon arrival, they saw Burningham lying in the road while a bystander performed CPR.

Police said Burningham was initially taken to Riverton hospital, but his condition was so serious he was ultimately flown to Intermountain Medical Center. A statement of probable cause states the man had multiple face fractures and went into cardiac arrest.

"Don't know what caused Mr. Burningham to go into cardiac arrest that required CPR, whether it was the punches, whether it was the fall to the ground--those are all things our investigators are investigating" said Det. Jared Richardson of the Unified Police Department.

Burningham was on life support for several hours, and just before 6 p.m. Saturday, police stated the victim had died and that new charges against the other man are being screened by the District Attorney.

Police initially booked the girlfriend's brother, identified as Cole G. Pedersen, into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of felony aggravated assault.

According to the PC Statement, Pedersen told police he had come to the residence to talk to the victim about what happened and that they begin to argue. The man stated he and the victim pushed each other, and that he then punched the victim once on the left side of the face. Pedersen told police the victim then fell to the ground, and he punched him a second time.

At that time, the victim's brother pulled Pedersen off of the victim and others in the area called emergency responders, according to Pedersen. Pedersen told police he waited for police to arrive, according to the PC statement.

Richardson said alcohol consumption may have contributed to the night's events.

"There is indications that there may have been some alcohol consumption earlier in the night between Mr. Burningham and his girlfriend and some other residents, I don't know about Mr. Pedersen," he said.

Pedersen was booked into jail on a charge of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury, but police stated now that the victim has died, other charges are being screened by the District Attorney.

Police said they urge people to call them first in any domestic violence situation rather than involving other parties or taking matters into their own hands.

54 comments

  • Be Like Just

    Good! he got what he deserves! I bet he won’t beating on any woman in the future. I wish this could happen everytime a man hits a woman. See how they like it

    • David Whittington

      I agree. Any man who beats up on a woman is the worst kind of coward there is. It sounds like the brother gave the girl-beating coward some instant justice. The brother should be given a medal instead of getting thrown in jail.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        A FAMILY OF CRIMINALS – Nothing in the story indicates that the girlfriend started anything. Maybe the boyfriend initiated the fight with her brother. Either which way this animal won’t be hitting any other women for a while …. maybe never.

    • A family of criminals

      Sounds like the sister started it and is as violent as her brother who she called. The sad thing is that the victim didn’t know the kind of family her was dealing with when he dated he because had he saw he fireworks she was he wouldn’t be where he’s at.

      • J. Peterson

        I would like to share this quote from B. Bullard with you and No Facts. “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy. For it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” Read it, learn it, and live it.

      • Anonymous

        The boyfriend was on probation, he already had domestic violence charges against him, and you claim his girlfriend was the one hitting him? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Her brother has had no criminal offenses against him and has never been violent before. You can’t say the same for the boyfriend.

    • People Are Ignorant

      Sad comment. You have no idea what happened do and no one “deserves” to die because of a mistake. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Think about them and how they feel. I wouldn’t want someone saying that about me. Instead of being rude and ignorant, keep your comment to yourself.

    • the. Intelligent idiot

      Terrible comment. Can’t believe you would say something like that. You weren’t involved but feel the need to judge that man? Horrible… Absolutely horrible

    • Mr Burns

      This young man was being hit by his girlfriend ,he moved her out of the way , ask her to leave she left and called her brother , she then brought her brother back to beet up , her boyfriend . sometimes women are the aggressor brother and sister should both go to jail,,,

      • ANOTHERBOB

        MR Burns says: “This young man was being hit by his girlfriend …”.
        Translation: This young man made a poor choice in his selection of girlfriends.

    • Davey_James

      I work with the victims father. Please don’t jump to conclusions when you don’t know the whole story. The initial conflict started due to a small disagreement. She hit HIM, at which point he pushed past her and told her to just head home for the night. After that is when she called her brother. This is a sad situation all around with both families suffering. Again, please don’t judge others when the whole story is not reported (or ever for that matter).

  • NO FACTS

    There are no facts here. No one know if she hit him first and he was just defending himself from a crazy girlfriend. Her ego was damaged and she probably cried to her brother to save him. The brother jumps to her defense without thinking clearly. I hope he goes to jail and his he thinks long and hard about this form of justice.

  • Jim Bob

    I agree with you guys, dude got what he deserved. Had the police been called first the boyfriend would have gone to jail, but received a slap on the wrist. I think this will make him think twice before hitting another woman.

    • Chris

      I’m sorry to say, but more than likely the Boyfriend wouldn’t have gone to Jail. Being a victim of DV myself I have a firsthand experience of how it works. The would have given him or her or both a citation and made the Girlfriend leave. In my case, both myself and my child were abused but my ex was still not arrested. When I asked why, they said because he was being compliant and that giving him a citation was basically arresting him but on paper. I’m happy to say that the story ended there but for most it doesn’t. I was afraid that night after he left, I’m afraid everyday of my life. I did get a protective order but he has broken it. If he ever chooses to put his hands on me or my children ever again, I would not hesitate to involve someone to teach him the hard way. This story will unfold and the details will surface. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this incident wasn’t the first time he’s hit her. I kept the abuse secret for 20 years. Domestic situations aren’t cut and dry. Families are abusive to each other everyday wether it be mental,physical or emotional. I’m guess for some, they abuse those who love them. 1. The abuser thinks they can because its ok to treat family that way and 2 because the victim believes that they need to protect the abuser and actually sends the message that it is allowed. I Think victims involve other family members because they don’t have the courage to do it themselves.

  • shelly

    Good! He got what he deserved!
    If I was in this situation I would beat his a#$ first then call all my 6 brothers to finish it.
    No need for the police to be involved they don’t do much anyway.

  • Beccababy73

    Why do you, Salt Lake Tribune, REFUSE to name names. Anywhere else in the country, unless someone is under 18, gives names. I live out of state, and find it frustrating, considering my family and friends all live there.

  • Jack

    He just did what family does for each other, he may have taken it too far but that’s why you keep your hands to yourself, you never know when a protective brother or father is coming to the rescue.

  • Loretta

    The brother did a good thing considering the lame response from law enforcement in other cases there in Utah. My niece was ran over by her estranged husband and hurt so bad she had to have her fingers stitched back on and faces surgery on her foot. The police contaminated this case from the beginning and it doesn’t end there. Domestic violence in Utah favors the man. My niece’s ex husband got a slap on the wrist. What kind of place allows women to be treated like that and allows the man to just walk away? So in my opinion, this woman’s brother did the right thing. Why would she call the police knowing full well there would be no justice served.

    • Lin

      Yea because the police have any power over what happens after they charge someone. Police don’t control what the District Attorney’s do or what Judges decide.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Or what a jury decides Lin. You should realize that if there is a trial the jury may chose to give the brother a medal for valor.

    • Tammy

      How about the woman take some accountability for her protection and not rely on law enforcement. Don’t date guys who are prone to violence. For everyone who thinks the guy got what he deserved is ridiculous. The guy is now dead and the brother will face more charges than he bargained for and watch the woman now come to the defense of her dead boyfriend. One minute she wanted help from her brother but watch her turn on him now for killing him.

    • Sean

      Ya, very thoughtful response. I like where your heads at. I think we should just do away with law enforcement and implement a purge. Or, Anarchy; lawlessness, so that each individual can handle their differences anyway they seem fit. Murder, to take out your neighbor with whom you had a disagreement, perfect. Thanks Loretta for your insight. Brilliant idea btw.

  • KDC

    Taking the law into your own hands is never the answer unless it’s self defense which this was not. I hope he faces the full rath of the law.

  • Jamie Peterson

    As a family member to one of involved parties in this incident. I am deeply saddened and heart broken for everyone involved. Lives tragically altered forever. My thoughts and prayers go out to both young men and their loved ones.

  • Andrew Corral

    The brother should of known his limits cause now he can get man slaughter and a long time im prison because he was defending his sister it was a good thing but dumb to injure him to the point where he can die the sister probably started it as well

    • KDC

      You won’t! They have a good way of screening out potential jury folks who don’t follow the law. If you’re on this jury then the facts are clear and he will be found guilty. It’s a simple matter of following what the law says. A crime was committed and the suspect is obviously guilty of the crime.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Google “jury nullification” and educate yourself. It’s the quiet people in the jury pool you have to look out for.

      • Kdc

        No way ever one on the jury will find him not guilty. Yes, it could be hung by one or two people on the jury, but no way he’ll be acquitted or receive a medal as you stated earlier. You’ve been watching too many law and order episodes.

  • what?

    I bet he wont hit another women again? umm he’s dead..and the girlfriend brother showed up way after the fact..and who really knows if he hit her or not..she could just be saying this so she has a defense and gets sympathy, either way now her brother will be the one who suffers and his life is going to be affected, the dead mans family lives are affected and the girlfriend will go on and find a new man..stupid.

  • ANOTHERBOB

    Looks like Blake Burningham is no longer with us and the brother will negotiate a plea to a lesser charges. My sympathies to the woman who now has to go out a find a new boyfriend.

  • Sean

    Guess what people who are defending the brother. If he in fact hit his girlfriend, then he would deserve to go to jail. But do you really think he deserved to be killed?
    Wow, if the country ever sinks into total anarchy, I forsee alot of people committing murder to settle differences.

    • bob

      He deserved to be punched in the face. Dying was his bad luck, and the world’s good luck. There was obviously no intent to kill.

      • Tammy

        You don’t know what this guy intended. Someone who has enough rage to beat someone to death also has the capability of intending to kill someone. His stupid choice. He will pay the ultimate price and the sister will probably turn against him now for saving her. I doubt she wanted her boyfriend dead.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      The deceased boyfriend didn’t deserve to die Sean. His death, while unfortunate was an unintended consequence of the violence he perpetrated against his girlfriend.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Prosecutors will almost always look at plea bargins. Depending on the strength of their case prosecutors may even initiate a plea bargin. This case won’t go to trial and he won’t do prison time.

      • Kdc

        This is true, this case will never go to trial, and possibly no prison time. Although I suspect the family will push for prison time if there is a deal.

  • Heartbroken

    I am truly heartbroken by this story. As this is my families living nightmare. At this point the facts do not really matter. One thing is for sure hearts are breaking tonight. Mistakes were made, mistakes that have forever changed two young men’s lives. That is nothing to celebrate. I know that mistakes happen and we grow and learn from them, but in life there are no do-overs. 12 hours later, I am sure both young men wish they had the chance to do things differently. I am praying that both families will find the strength to get through the next few days, months, and years… For everyone else don’t waste your time writing comments that will cause more pain to all involved instead use your time and do something positive. Pay it forward… Quoted from Wiki How..
    “The world can seem like an unfriendly, threatening place, yet we all want safety, health, and happiness for ourselves and our loved ones. How can one ordinary person—you or me—make a positive difference in this world? One way is the practice “paying it forward.” While the steps might be simple, the outcome could create a sense of luck and good will that changes the world.” Do your part!

  • Chris

    I’m sorry to say, but more than likely the Boyfriend wouldn’t have gone to Jail. Being a victim of DV myself I have a firsthand experience of how it works. The would have given him or her or both a citation and made the Girlfriend leave. In my case, both myself and my child were abused but my ex was still not arrested. When I asked why, they said because he was being compliant and that giving him a citation was basically arresting him but on paper. I’m happy to say that the story ended there but for most it doesn’t. I was afraid that night after he left, I’m afraid everyday of my life. I did get a protective order but he has broken it. I reported it, All that happened was I received a letter that said it will be on file. I will say this,
    If he ever chooses to put his hands on me or my children again, I would not hesitate to involve someone to teach him the hard way. This story will unfold and the details will surface. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this incident wasn’t the first time he’s hit her. I kept the abuse secret for 20 years because the only time I ever called the Police, I was issued a citation for pushing him out of they way so I could leave. I suffered many years because of they way I was treated like the criminal. Domestic situations aren’t cut and dry. Families are abusive to each other everyday wether it be mental, physical or emotional. In Domestic situations it seems as if certain rules don’t apply because “it’s Family” those who love The abuser thinks they are obligated and its ok to treat family that way the victim believes that they need to protect the abuser and if they fight back, they end up being the criminal and sends the message that it is allowed. Victims involve other family members because they know they don’t have the support or protection from the State.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      Among the most dangerous calls a peace office responds to are domestic violence complaints. Somewhere between the time you arrive and the time the boyfriend/husband is arrested the female slowly begins to realize that strangers she’s never met before are about to handcuff her beloved.

      If it ever gets to court she comes in holding hands with the boyfriend/husband and begs the judge for mercy.

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  • Kyle

    Blake was a scumbag, thief, and violent felon, he had been in and out of jail multiple times and was usually on drugs. He blindsided everyone who knew him, even those who tried to help him, myself included. He got everything he had coming to him. This wasn’t the first woman he hit, but it was his last.

    • David Whittington

      Kyle – Thank you for the information. I was hoping more people who knew Blake and who know jailed Cole would weigh in with some facts about this bazaar and tragic incident. Blake’s family is already trying to claim Blake was an angel and never would hit a woman. Your comment seems to refute the bogus ‘Blake was an angel’ claims.

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