17-year-old Utah boy charged in sledgehammer attack

(Image courtesy of Payson Police Department) Surveillance video shows a teenager accused of using a sledgehammer to beat a man on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. The 17-year-old is then accused of entering a day care center and punching children.

A 17-year-old Utah boy has been charged with brutally beating a Payson man with a sledgehammer and assaulting a daycare owner and several children.

On Aug. 14, Benjamin Partridge, 41, was working in the driveway of his home when the teenager allegedly picked up a sledgehammer and began beating him with it. According to a probable cause statement, security video shows the suspect hit Partridge twice with the sledgehammer, knocking him down, then “raised the sledgehammer above his head” and hit Partridge 11 more times.

Partridge suffered a fractured skull, brain bleeding, a fractured pelvis, a lacerated spleen and a collapsed lung, according to a probable cause statement, and is “in a coma and not expected to recover.”

(According to an update posted Wednesday on the family’s GoFundMe page for Partridge, he is “beginning to wake up” and opened one eye when told to do so by a doctor.)

A neighbor told police that she yelled at the teenager to stop the attack, and he jumped over the fence and began to chase her and the 12 children at her home daycare — ages 2-13 — with the sledgehammer. The teenager “kicked a toddler, and then punched another toddler, knocking them to the ground.” He punched the neighbor in the face, forced his way into her home, knocked her down and got on top of her as he punched her some more.

The suspect was identified through video footage, and turned himself in the following day. He has been charged in 4th District Court with attempted murder and aggravated burglary, first-degree felonies; and 12 counts of aggravated assault, third-degree felonies. The teenager is being held in juvenile detention.