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Mark E. Byrge (Utah County Sheriff's Office photo)
Legislative candidate faces kidnapping, assault charges
First Published Jul 22 2014 10:51 pm • Last Updated Jul 23 2014 10:13 am

A candidate for the state Legislature is accused of attacking and kidnapping a man.

Mark E. Byrge, 43, who is a Democratic state House candidate, was charged Monday with first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping, third-degree felony aggravated assault and second-degree felony obstructing justice in connection to a dispute that allegedly occurred June 1 at Byrge’s house in American Fork.

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According to court documents, a man went to Byrge’s house and argued with Byrge at the front door over money Byrge was owed for prescription pain medication he had given to the man’s girlfriend. Byrge struck the man in the face with a walking cane, and the man pulled Byrge off the front porch on top of him, police wrote. Byrge then "pulled out a pistol, racked a round into the chamber, hit the man in the face with the pistol, held it at the man’s head and compelled [the] man to enter his house," police wrote.

Byrge threatened to kill the man if he did not go inside, and held him at gunpoint as they went indoors, police wrote. He then ordered the man to kneel and pistol-whipped the man repeatedly, saying the man "was going to die," investigators wrote

Someone came to the house and told Byrge that police were on their way, police wrote. Byrge told his wife to get rid of the gun and delete the text messages from the man’s phone; while she was deleting messages, the man fled. Witnesses reported seeing the man emerge from Byrge’s house, his face covered in blood, police wrote.

Police later obtained the deleted text messages, which discussed the unpaid debt for Byrge’s painkillers, police wrote.

Byrge’s wife is charged with obstructing justice.

Byrge is running for the House seat from District 56, against Kay J. Christofferson.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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