Charges filed against ‘goblin topplers’

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UTAH COUNTY --You've probably seen the YouTube video by now. In it, two Utah County men, both now former Boy Scout leaders, toppling a rock formation in Southern Utah.

Now they're facing criminal charges. The case is unique; the Emery County Attorney had to determine how much the rock formation was worth and how much damage was done. The value in the end was enough to charge the two men with felonies.

Video: Men topple 200-million-year-old 'Goblin' formation in Utah

Back in October, David Hall, one of the former scout leaders now facing a felony defended their actions.

"We'll take responsibility for that,” he said. “We teach our boys to be good scouts. We made a decision based on safety of the people around."

Emery County Attorney David Blackwell didn't see it that way, saying in the fall, "I think it might cause legislators to craft a law that might protect our state parks."

Since there's no state statute protecting state parks, Blackwell had to come up with the charge to fit the alleged crime.

"The county attorney today filed third-degree felony charges against both individuals," said Fred Hayes, who is the Director of the Division of Parks and Recreation.

Glenn Taylor was charged with criminal mischief and David Hall with aiding and assisting in criminal mischief. The damage to the ancient rock formation in Goblin Valley is estimated between $1,500 to $5,000, making the charges against the former Boy Scout leaders third-degree felonies.

"Certainly this is an unusual case,” Hayes said. “We hope that by the filing of the felony charges it's a deterrent for anybody else who thinks it's cool to deface or destroy state park property.”

Representative Dylan Prichard is introducing legislation which would make damaging or defacing a geological or natural feature in a state park a third-degree felony. The bill aligns with the Emery County Attorney's case and will be heard in a committee hearing this coming Monday at the State Capitol.

Meantime, FOX 13 News reached out to Dave Hall, who didn't want to comment on the story. We also left a message for Glenn Taylor but haven't heard back; but both will have their day in court, to defend themselves. That date hasn't been set yet.


    • Justyna

      Agree! Sheer stupidity, not to mention total disrespect for nature needs to be punished.
      Isn’t Dave Hall the guy who trash-talked Jodi Arias on national television? He fist-pumped the air when she was convicted for 1st deg. murder, too. This tool is a waste of space.

  • Oh bite me

    But there are so many more rock formations, that took millions of years to form that need to be toppled in the name of safety.

  • Corey

    Safety? Really? It didn’t fall down for 200 million years. Not to mention in the video they’re laughing and acting like fools. They did this for fun and deserve whatever punishment is dealt.

  • josh brown

    its a rock, these guys are being charged with a felon for a rock??? OK OK its a nice looking rock that my kids cant ever look at again, wait no its still there um um just moved and now they dont have the right to vote or own a gun or even work it many cases. NO NO I dont agree with this way to far.

    • little boy blue

      You might have the same problem as they do. RESPECT WHAT IS NOT YOURS!!!!! They had no right to do this. And to me it really looks like he has a back injury that he is milking for free money. What a scammer. Great news though.. He can’t be around the scouts to teach his deceptive habits.

      • Stick it

        I bet they pay taxes. So yes in a way it is their rock. What if there is an earth quake and they all fall down. Are you going to put mother nature in Prison too.

    • Kathy

      If not for protecting these areas, we would have never learned that Indians & Dinosaurs had once lived here. (And YES that IS imporant to us).
      TO THOSE WHO SAY “IT’S JUST A ROCK FORMATION & THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THEM”. My reply is “get the he*l out and don’t come back”. “Don’t let the door hit you in the a*s” From a proud Utahn.

  • Wendy Bonzo

    I think what they did was terrible. Not funny in the least. They were terrible examples for the scouts in their care. We need to show respect for natural wonders, why would you ever think it’s okay to do that. That being said, I’m not sure I agree with the felony charges. I feel very strongly that they should be punished and assessed a fine, but a felony seems a little steep.

  • Jane Jones

    It’s the thought process that bothers me. Two grown men thought it seemed liked a good idea? The charges will haunt them every time they have to check the box “any felonies”

  • LeaAnn Grace

    They are supposed to be examples of how scouts should act? Even if it was a hazard it was not the correct way to go about it. Should of reported it, made a sign something to let other people know . Yes criminal mischief is what they deserve.

  • Norma

    What would people say if they destroyed a building? Or a car they felt might endanger people? I mean, they’re only things, right? I think they’re lucky the proposed laws aren’t already in the books. They’re getting off much lighter than they would have.

  • jelwzzz

    Wow!!!! Felony charges??? By god get those dangerous criminals and throw them in jail by all means. Just remember if you criminalize and jail for stupidity sake better arrest 85% of the states population. Oh and by the way AG’s office? Why haven’t you arrested and charged John Swallow?????????????

  • Eddie Horvath

    Not strong enough…..higher fines and jail time would be appropriate for destroying something in a national park to which now no one can enjoy it!

  • Brian

    I guess I sadly fall in the group of people who dont understand the horrible nature of this crime. If it was a formation that they hooked a chain up to a four wheel drive and pulled over, I could maybe understand. But to push a big rock over by hand watch it roll two feet and be a felon seems extreme. I wonderif it hadn’t been on video, ifthe next 100 people would of even noticed that one rock out of 1 million rocks was off by a foot. I guess Moses was a felon for bringing the rocks down the mountain.

  • Doug

    What they did was stupid. An impulsive act by people that should have done better. Life is good here in America. In other places normal people spend their wrath on truly evil people. Society is fickled. We are more outraged by a rock on the desert floor while thinking nothing of a million aported children in trash cans. We are Rome, worshiping idols of stone and sacrificing our babies.

  • Deb

    Maybe it time to pass a “stupidity law” Then they could be charged with……
    “Aggravated Stupidity in front of minors!

  • Se Ufa

    I wonder what everyone would say if the rock did happen to fall on someone… You want to throw someone in jail cause they tumbled a rock… It’s a rock. We move mountains and destroy forest but no one says a no one is complaining

  • Julie Baugh

    They should get the felony charges. What a couple of egotistical nerds!! It infuriates me when STUPID people destroy nature and think they are funny and harmless. And the safety issue is just a made up excuse after the fact.

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