A Utah man had his case dismissed earlier this month after he was initially accused of threatening to shoot a youth football team and its coach in Magna last September. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man formerly accused of threatening to shoot a youth football coach and team had his charge dismissed earlier this month.
Joshua Scott Howard, 38, had the only charge in his case — a threat of terrorism, a second-degree felony — dismissed without prejudice during a hearing on April 1, according to court records. When a charge is dismissed without prejudice, it means the charge is not dismissed forever and could potentially be refiled.
Howard was initially charged on Sept. 22, just two days after he was arrested in Magna. Initial charging documents say Unified police were sent to Magna Copper Park, 8940 W. 2600 South, after hearing a report of a man and woman arguing near a playground. The man, Howard, was allegedly trying to prevent the woman from leaving the park.
The charging documents state that the woman approached a man who was coaching a youth football team practice in the park, asking for help. The man later told Howard, who had allegedly been arguing with the woman, to leave the park, police said. The court documents state that Howard then allegedly told the man to “mind his own business.”
The man again asked Howard to leave and said that he was going to call the police. Howard allegedly told the man to go ahead and call police, but that “he was going to go and get a gun, come back and shoot all the kids,” charging documents state. A parent who attended the practice told police they heard Howard make the alleged threat.
In February, Christopher Manberg, an attorney representing Howard, filed a motion to dismiss the felony charge, arguing that Utah’s threat of terrorism statute is “unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, and because it is vague and overbroad.”
Manberg said in the motion that Howard left the park before police arrived and did not return to the park. Police did not find any weapons on Howard when he was arrested, nor did they find weapons in the home where Howard was staying nearby.
Prosecutors were given a March 25 deadline to file a response after the defense filed the motion to dismiss. However, online court records do not indicate that prosecutors filed any response.
Online court records show that the defense moved to dismiss the case during the April 1 hearing, and prosecutors did not object, leading the judge to dismiss the case without prejudice. Court records do not specify the reasoning for dismissing the case.
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Jacob Scholl joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. He covers northern Utah communities, federal courts and technology.