Utah double homicide suspect Mia Bailey hasn’t been able to call defense from jail, attorney argues

The attorney also argued prosecutors haven’t been quickly forthcoming about sharing evidence.

St. George • Mia Bailey, the double homicide suspect accused of killing her parents in their Washington City home last month, appeared back in court Wednesday, listening silently as a judge conferred with her defense attorney and prosecutors about the southern Utah case.

At issue was the 28-year-old’s apparent inability to confer over the phone from jail with her court-appointed defense attorney, Ryan Stout.

“She does have access to her attorney when I go out there, but I need her to be able to give me a call,” Stout said, asking 5th District Judge Keith Barnes for the court to intervene.

Stout also raised issue with an alleged lack of discovery from prosecutors. Discovery is the process in which the prosecution and defense share relevant evidence and documents before a trial begins.

So far, despite what Stout described as good communication with prosecutors, he said he’s only received a document explaining the probable cause for Bailey’s arrest. Washington County prosecutor Jerry Jaeger acknowledged the delay but said additional discovery would be shared next week.

Barnes ordered the jail to arrange for Bailey to confer with her attorney over the phone from jail several times a week. He also directed the prosecution to hand over all discovery documents to the defense by 5 p.m. on July 17.

Bailey was physically present for the Wednesday hearing, unlike her initial court appearance on June 26, for which she video-called in from jail. She sat in a chair before the judge and didn’t utter a word during the eight-minute discussion.

Bailey was arrested June 19, the day after police say she fatally shot her mother and father before opening fire on her brother and his wife, who were not harmed. She is facing two counts of aggravated murder; one count each of attempted aggravated murder and aggravated burglary; and seven counts of felony discharge of a firearm.

The shooting began when Bailey walked into her parents’ home unexpectedly and started firing multiple rounds at her mother, then shot her father once in the head as he approached her, according to the probable cause document.

Bailey told police she then went downstairs to the home’s basement, where her brother and his wife went to hide in a locked bedroom, and fired a round through the door, later telling officers her brother “was not her main target but she would not have been sad had the gunshot killed him,” the document states. Her brother and his wife had been in the process of trying to escape from through a basement window.

Police said Bailey told them she then returned upstairs, where she shot her father once more in the head to “make sure that he was dead.” She then shot her mother, who was making noises, once in the head, the document states.

All told, the suspect’s mother was struck by four rounds and her father by two rounds, according to a medical examiner. Bailey left the scene but surrendered to authorities the following morning in a field near the St. George Temple, at 250 E. 400 South, after an extensive search.

Police say Bailey was carrying a firearm “of the same caliber” used in the shootings upon her arrest. After, she told police about her estranged relationships with family members, how much she hated her brother and that she went to her parents’ home with the intent to kill them.

“[Bailey] further stated that she did not have remorse for her actions and that she would not change what she had done,” the document states. “[Bailey] stated, ‘I would do it again. I hate them,’” officers wrote.

While aggravated murder charges can be punishable by death, Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke recently announced that prosecutors will not seek capital punishment in this case.

The case has captured the attention of conservative lawmakers. State Rep. Kera Birkeland speculated without evidence on the social media platform now known as X that gender-affirming hormonal therapy might have led to the killings. Bailey is transgender, and had legally changed her name and gender marker.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee also accused media outlets of “woke” reporting for referring to Bailey as a woman, which he argued confused residents and compromised their safety when Bailey was still at large.

Most news organizations referred to Bailey as a woman or used female pronouns and other identifiers. They either noted she was transgender or had legally changed her gender marker, and posted photos disseminated by law enforcement during the search that showed Bailey both with both longer and shorter hair.

Utah’s senior senator, in turn, took a hit from those who noted his social media posts were inaccurate, including that he said the killings occurred in St. George rather than Washington City.

Bailey continues to be held in the Purgatory Correctional Facility without the option for bond.