Man accused of starting Brian Head Fire wants trial moved because of community ‘hatred’ toward him

Robert Ray Lyman, accused of starting the 71,000 acre Brian Head Fire. (Jail booking photo provided by the Iron County Jail)

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Attorneys for the man accused of starting the Brian Head Fire are asking for a change of venue, citing the fire’s local impact, smothering media coverage and other factors they claim play against their client receiving “a fair and impartial trial in Iron County,” the St. George News reported.

Taylorsville resident Robert Ray Lyman, 61, is accused of starting last summer’s fire at Brian Head that burned over 71,000 acres across parts of Iron and Garfield counties, destroyed 13 homes, triggered the evacuation of about 1,500 people and cost $40 million for fire agencies to combat.

“Unsurprisingly, the media outlets serving Iron County covered the fire with a frenzy,” attorney Andrew Deiss wrote in a motion filed July 12.

Much of the media coverage included “the false assertion” that Lyman started the fire with a weed torch or similar device.

Click here to read the full story from the St. George News. 

The Brian Head Fire consumed more than 70,000 acres in Southern Utah, June 23, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Color Country Interagency Fire Center, St. George News / Cedar City News
July 17, 2018