Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Michael Robert Workman, a 25-year-old Sandy man, was found dead Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, outside an LDS church in Holladay. Courtesy photo)
Trial begins for Salt Lake County man accused of fatal stabbing
Courts » Talon Levi Hamann charged with murdering Michael R. Workman in 2012.
First Published Jun 30 2014 12:06 pm • Last Updated Jun 30 2014 10:18 pm

In opening statements Monday in the jury trial for a Salt Lake County man accused of stabbing another man to death, the defense argued that the fatal blows were delivered not by the defendant, but by his friend.

Talon Levi Hamann, 20, is charged in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder, second-degree felony obstructing justice and third-degree tampering with a witness, all stemming from the fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Michael R. Workman on Aug. 23, 2012, in a Holladay church parking lot.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"There’s no doubt that Talon Hamann stabbed Mr. Workman," defense attorney Michael Misner told the 10-person jury during his opening statement. "Whether or not anyone else stabbed him is unclear."

Witnesses reported seeing Hamann stabbing Workman in the legs, but the lethal wounds were delivered to his chest and upper back, Misner said, adding that the medical examiner would testify to finding two different types of wounds on Workman’s body.

"Talon Hamann couldn’t have delivered those lethal blows," Misner said.

Instead, Misner said, those blows were delivered by Austin S. Taylor, who with Hamann and another friend, Ryan G. Curtz, drunkenly brawled with Workman in the church parking lot. Both Taylor and Curtz pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and misdemeanor assault and, in exchange for promising to testify against Hamann, were sentenced to community service and three years’ probation.

While Curtz has since kept his nose clean, Taylor has not, Misner said. After violating the terms of his probation twice, Taylor was given a prison sentence.

"He’s a jerk. He comes across as a jerk," Misner said of Taylor. "The deal was made with the wrong person. Austin Taylor is as much, if not more to blame [for Workman’s death] than Talon Hamann."

Misner added that the fight would have been avoided had it not been for Workman’s aggression. "Mr. Workman wanted a fight," Misner said.

But Prosecutor Byron Burmester instead portrayed Hamann as the aggressor, consumed by rage after being told that Workman had assaulted Petra Elkaz, Hamann’s close friend, earlier that evening. Two witnesses would later say that the assault never happened.


story continues below
story continues below

When Taylor and Curtz got into a fistfight with Workman, Hamann, armed with a knife, joined the fight, Burmester said.

"But instead of hitting with his fists, he stabs [Workman] over and over again," Burmester said.

The deadly scuffle occurred at about 3 a.m. in the parking lot of an LDS Church on the 1600 East block of Delaware Lane (4945 South), across the street from the house where Workman had spent the evening with friends.

Workman was stabbed eight times and left bleeding to death in the parking lot. His body was discovered the next morning by a neighbor.

During a preliminary hearing on February 2013, Elkaz testified that as she, Hamann, Taylor and Curtz fled the scene in a car driven by their friend Shalynn Caro, Hamann admitted to stabbing Workman. In the days that followed, witnesses say Hamann burned his bloody clothes, disposed of the knife in Utah Lake and told another witness, Kelsey Boren, not to "snitch."

As she waited outside the courtroom after testifying Monday, Boren, who went home before the fight turned violent, was asked whether she thought Hamann killed Workman.

"I didn’t think Talon was capable of doing something like that," Boren said. "He wasn’t a violent person, I didn’t think."

Elkaz, who initially told investigators a fabricated story, avoided prosecution after she agreed to testify against Hamann under oath. During her testimony Monday, Elkaz began to sob when asked to describe her relationship with Hamann.

"I would say he’s my hero," Elkaz said.

Hamann has been held in the Salt Lake County jail on a $1 million cash-only bail since his arrest on Aug. 25, 2012. Attorneys estimate the trial, presided over by Judge Deno Himonas, will take three to four days.

hstevens@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Harry_Stevens



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.