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Judge orders four Utahns accused of murdering man to trial
Courts » Drug debt believed to be motive behind kidnapping, murder of Cleat Knight.

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Beck said Leech threatened him with a gun, ignored Soules and her sister as the women pleaded with him "don’t do this," gave Myore directions as they drove up the canyon.

It was Leech who police believe shot Knight in the back as the man knelt on the muddy ground on that clear November night, cold and illuminated by the moon’s glow.

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Seumanu’s wife, Dawnie Seumanu, who is also Soules’s sister, testifying for the state Wednesday, said her husband went along with Leech because he, too, was afraid.

Myore said, after a certain point, they all were.

Leech, who declined to testify in his own defense as per the advice of his attorneys, did not call any witnesses this week. The bar of proof is much lower at preliminary hearings than at trial, where a jury must be convinced "beyond a reasonable doubt." It is unclear how the group managed to convince Knight to return.

When he arrived at a nearby apartment, where Beck was also taken, witnesses said, Leech ordered Knight and Beck to lie on the ground, tied the men’s hands behind their backs and clasped the hood of their sweatshirts over their faces, so they couldn’t see.

According to charging documents, Soules, Seumanu and Myore discussed how they were going to kill both Beck and Knight.

The men then set off for Weber County in Myore’s truck. En route, officials said, "Knight pleaded for his life and asked them not to go through with their plans."

When they stopped near the Snowbasin resort, Beck and Knight were escorted about 100 yards from the truck and told to get down on their knees, according to testimony. Their blindfolds were removed, their hands cut free. In a flash of fire, Beck said, Leech shot Knight in the back.

The bullet, according to an autopsy, tore through his back, his chest and into his leg.

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Beck tensed, waiting for another shot.

It never came.

Instead, he told the court, Leech stood him up and handed him a gun with one bullet in the chamber. He told him to shoot his friend if he wanted to live, Beck said.

"He told me, ‘Finish it or you’re next,’ " Beck testified. "I didn’t know what to do. I said, ‘OK.’ "

Leech, he said, had another gun pointed to the back of his head in case he "got any ideas." He fired the gun at close range, standing right above Knight.

The men took off, leaving Knight’s body in the canyon, where it was discovered months later.

Beck, who has a lengthy history of crimes in Utah, was also charged with obstruction of justice in this case for lying to police. He told Judge James Blanch that he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a plea deal that may keep him from returning to prison.

Leech, Seumanu, Soules and Myore are all being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

mlang@sltrib.com Twitter: @Marissa_Jae

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