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  • SOUTHERN UTAH MEMORIES: Alan Boyack’s service in the law spanned duties as medical examiner, and family and defense attorney
    by Loren Webb
    Published - 09/27/13 - 10:12 AM | 0 0 comments | 424 424 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    (WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah) - Part 2 of a 2-part series.

    Because of school and military service, Alan Boyack moved away from St. George for a few years, but returned to St. George in 1978 where he became Sheriff Eugene Jones’ lawyer, along with attorney Lang Foremaster.

    Jones, who had defeated Evan Whitehead in the previous election, was charged with felonious aggravated assault on a prisoner, John Charles Mann. His real name, authorities would learn later, was Jackie Lee Miller.

    Deputy Attorney General Bob Wallace prosecuted the case before Judge J. Harlan Burns in 5th District Court. Jones was later acquitted of the charge and the case received national publicity.

    Within a month of his acquittal, Eugene Jones called Boyack, saying he had a high speed chase situation and asked if Boyack wanted to go along with Jones. Boyack’s partner Michael G. Allphin got in the patrol car, with Allphin in the back and Boyack in the front passenger seat of the sheriff’s unmarked vehicle.

    Jones said he wanted to try out some new spikes. Reaching I-15, Boyack said they should head south, since that is the way the suspect probably went. Jones initially argued that the suspect vehicle had probably headed north, but he eventually heeded Boyack’s advice and drove south, where they soon spotted the suspect vehicle, also heading south.

    The chase would lead all the way into Nevada onto the Mormon Mesa where the suspect eventually shot himself. When Jones came upon the vehicle (and not knowing the status of the suspect), he banged his nightstick and his service revolver on the car window. A Utah Highway Patrol trooper then shot through the back window, Boyack said, before Jones learned the suspect was dead inside.

    About 1987, Washington County Attorney Paul Graf, Boyack, who was then serving as the Utah State Medical Examiner investigator, Sheriff’s Deputy Rymal Hinton, and mortuary owner Joe Campbell had been told about a man who had died in a motorhome in Rockville or Springdale. It was said the man had been a nature photographer who had done photography with a mountain lion for a Ford Mercury Cougar commercial.

    When the law enforcement group arrived at the motor home, before Boyack knew it, a mountain lion on the premises lunged for his throat and was stopped only a foot and a half away from Boyack by a chain around the lion’s neck.

    On another occasion during Boyack’s duties as State Medical Examiner investigator, local authorities received a call from a ham radio operator that there were two persons who had died in Washington County because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Several officials and Boyack were dispatched to the scene. When they arrived, it was dark. The group put on oxygen masks because of the potential threat of continuing carbon monoxide poisoning.

    “When we got there, the door was open, apparently after the people, who found the bodies, arrived and aired out the place,” Boyack said.

    Boyack shone his flashlight inside and couldn’t see anything. Then as he entered into a bedroom, his light beam revealed a nude couple who had been in the throes of passion.

    Boyack, taken aback, said, “Excuse me.”

    Then he noticed the couple was dead.

    Boyack was also involved as a medical examiner investigator when a B-52 bomber crashed on Square Top Mountain, northwest of Veyo in April 1983. The bomber was practicing some military exercises that involved flying about 150 feet above the earth. One pilot was making his last flight before he retired. Because his NOE equipment (which refers to Nap-of-the-earth, a type of very low-attitude flight course used by military aircraft to avoid enemy detection and attack in a high-threat environment) had gone out, it created an optical illusion when it encountered Square Top Mountain.

    The aircraft hit the mountain about 75-100 feet from the summit going about 350 knots causing the plane to vaporize the entire crew.

    U.S. Air Force officials tried to convince county officials they had no right to be at the crash scene, but Boyack said he and others convinced Air Force officials they did indeed have a right to be at the crash scene.

    Seven persons were killed in the accident.

    Another plane crash on Kolob Mountain killed three young persons who were enroute to Provo from Phoenix, Ariz. The plane crashed in November during horrible (snowy) weather. Boyack said the pilot had just obtained his commercial pilot’s license. During the search for the plane, a sheriff search and rescue member got off his horse to relieve himself and there in front of him was the wing tip in a tree.

    On a missing persons case involving a young St. George woman, Boyack was hired to represent the girl’s family as a liaison with the Police Department, and the court and criminal justice system.

    During the search for the missing woman, a great deal of negotiations occurred between attorney Ron Yengich, who represented the estranged wife of the suspect, and county law enforcement officials.

    The woman’s body was discovered many months later in a remote area of Washington County. Boyack said he had promised the girl’s family he would notify them immediately when he learned that the body had been discovered and was going to be exhumed by county officials.

    In a case involving the murder of another St. George woman, Boyack said former sheriff Evan Whitehead, working for the St. George Police Department at the time, was the person largely responsible for finding the woman’s body, which had been placed on the Shivwit Indian Reservation. Whitehead concluded that the buckbrush found underneath the murder suspect’s car came only from a small area of the reservation.

    Boyack represented the murder defendant. Boyack used a defense strategy in which he argued that the defendant was under the influence of an antidepressant drug, Prozac when he committed the murder.

    Eventually, several plaintiffs filed a $50 million lawsuit against the manufacturer of Prozac. Meanwhile, Boyack said the defendant, who was in prison as of June of 2004, had earned two doctorate degrees.

    Boyack was also the medical examiner investigator on another murder case in which Ilo Grundberg was accused of killing her mother. Grundberg also used a similar defense strategy she was under the influence of the drug Halcion at the time she committed the murder. She was acquitted, but later committed suicide.

    Boyack was the medical examiner investigator in still another bizarre manslaughter case involving a defendant. The defendant had picked up a rattlesnake north of Toquerville and had taken the snake home to show a 21-month-old girl. The snake bit the girl and the girl died.

    Prosecuting authorities, Boyack said, used Boyack’s testimony to help convict the defendant who was defended by attorneys J. MacArthur Wright and John Miles.

    When the defendant came up for parole, the Parole Board ordered the defendant to serve the entire 15-year manslaughter sentence, Boyack said.

    Boyack believes the defendant meant no evil harm to the child, he was just stupid.

    In another shooting incident where one man shot another man in connection with a love triangle, Boyack investigated the case for the State Medical Examiner’s office. The defendant was acquitted in the shooting, with the jury believing his self defense argument.

    Some time after that case, Boyack resigned as county examiner investigator for the State of Utah. However, he continued to serve as county medical examiner in Mohave County for the State of Arizona.

    In 2002-2003, Boyack was assigned to investigate what he determined was a homicide and suicide case in Mohave County. His conclusion was in conflict with that of Mohave County detectives whose conclusion was indeterminable.

    Boyack said he had solid evidence to warrant a conclusion of homicide/suicide, but since that conclusion, he was not asked to handle any further medical examiner cases in Mohave County.

    Boyack said in his July 2004 interview, he really enjoyed handling forensic cases as a county medical examiner investigator for the states of Utah and Arizona, and he said he has had a good rapport with the rank and file officers in both departments.

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