Former bomb-scheme teen now running for Roy mayor
By Cathy McKitrick | The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Jun 20 2013 02:20PM
One of three candidates running for mayor of Roy is 18-year-old Joshua Kyler Hoggan, a Weber State University student with a penchant for political science.
His name might ring a bell — in April 2012, Hoggan pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon of mass destruction in a foiled bomb scheme at Roy High School and was sentenced to six months in a juvenile facility.
Having served his time, Hoggan is now exercising his civic right to seek elected office and will go up against two-term incumbent Mayor Joe Ritchie and City Councilman Willard Cragun for the city’s top elected position.
Hoggan was not identified in previous stories because it is The Salt Lake Tribune’s policy not to identify juveniles charged with crimes. However, he now is an adult running for public office, so the newspaper considers his plea public information and his past offense has surfaced as an issue in the race.
Roy, a northern Utah city of about 37,600 residents, functions with a part-time mayor who receives an annual salary of $9,000.
"He has a right to run and is a qualified candidate," Ritchie said, "but I can’t figure out for the life of me why he’d want to run."
Hoggan declined to answer questions about his involvement in the bomb plot, instead focusing on the race ahead.
He said he has lived in Roy for 13 years, and he praised Ritchie for "doing a fantastic job."
"But it’s time to bring in a newer generation," Hoggan said. "Change is beneficial for society." Hoggan plans to reveal more about his reasons for running in a 4 p.m. news conference Monday.
Hoggan’s Facebook fan page describes him as "a young, fiscally centric social libertarian-leaning politician hailing from Roy, UT, who aspires to push our community, our state, and our nation in the right direction."
To qualify as a mayoral candidate, individuals must reside within the city’s boundaries and be at least 18 years of age; if they are convicted felons, they cannot currently be serving their sentence, said Weber County Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch.
"It’s kind of a tribute to a free society," Hatch said, "that people regardless of their beliefs and mistakes — and we’ve all made some — can run for office if they meet the criteria."
Costs to conduct the primary election in Roy will run between $12,000 and $14,000, Hatch said.
Because Hoggan pleaded guilty to the first-degree felony as a juvenile, he now has no adult criminal record.
In statements reported by The Tribune last August, Hoggan told 2nd District Court Juvenile Judge Janice Frost that he never planned to hurt anyone. The bomb plot — cooked up with 18-year-old Dallin Todd Morgan — was purposely leaked to other students in an effort to raise awareness about the school’s lack of security.
Morgan, tried as an adult, pleaded no contest to the reduced charge of second-degree felony criminal mischief and was sentenced to 18 months probation, 105 days in jail and a $500 fine. Successful completion of probation will amend the charge to a class A misdemeanor.
A first-degree felony charge of possession of a weapon of mass destruction carries the maximum sentence of up to life in prison; the second-degree felony criminal mischief charge could mean up to 15 years in prison.
While Hoggan’s Facebook page does not mention his run for office, it displays a copy of his student pilot’s certificate, mentions his work as a junior writer at Cracked.com, and contains a pledge to his future offspring:
"Whenever I have children, I’m going to sit them down before they go into high school, and tell them every cool, stupid, should’ve-got-me-expelled thing I did in high school. If they can beat my stunts without getting in trouble, I’ll pay for their college."