Bill lowers the age for teens accused of killing cops to face adult charges

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill filed in the Utah State Legislature would lower the age for teenagers to face adult-level charges when they’re accused of killing police officers.

Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, filed House Bill 190. Under Utah law, a juvenile defendant must be at least 16 to be directly taken into the adult court system. His bill drops the age to 15 when it involves the murder of a police officer.

Rep. Winder told FOX 13 on Thursday the bill was in response to the murder of West Valley City Police Officer Cody Brotherson, who was killed in 2016 while attempting to stop a vehicle with three teens inside. The teens — ages 14, 15 and 15 — were sentenced to confinement in a juvenile detention facility until they are 21.

Rep. Winder said the family of Officer Brotherson asked him to consider legislation to allow for adult charges.

“When someone targets a police officer, in some ways it’s a higher offense because that officer represents all of us in trying to keep law and order,” he said.