Utahn gets probation after battling brother
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
December 7, 2012
A door-busting fight between brothers has resulted in six months of probation for a Utah man.
Derek Alexander Bird, 21, of West Jordan, pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor property destruction charge. Prosecutors agreed in a plea deal to drop a second charge of battery against a household member.
At his sentencing in 9th Circuit Court, Bird agreed to the guilty plea in exchange for a six-month suspended jail sentence, six months of unsupervised probation and financial penalties.
Bird’s brother, Tyson Bird, paid $300 to repair a door and doorframe at the Virginian Lodge. Derek Bird kicked in the door July 28 after he tussled with his brother and was locked out.
Judge James Radda gave Bird the option of paying a $500 fine or getting an alcohol abuse evaluation and following recommendations of the evaluator. Bird, who chose the evaluation route, still must pay $190 in court costs and fees.
Bird said his brother and his brother’s wife, who were the main witnesses that day, wanted the charge dismissed, but he didn’t want to spend more time away from his job and schooling to go to trial.
“It was just, you know, a family discussion that could have been handled a little better,” Bird said. “In this matter I did vandalize [the door]. I took care of it, paid for it regardless of what it says on paper. I understand it was out of hand. I’m owning up to what happened.”
The incident began with an argument between the brothers during a weekend stay in Jackson. The two argued after Tyson Bird asked about a watch he was missing, court files state.
The argument turned physical, though Derek Bird said Thursday it was “mostly wrestling around.” Bird left the room, at which point, he said, the door “got locked.” He admitted damaging the door and the frame trying to get back in.
Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Terry Rogers noted that Bird’s account was far less violent than that given by witnesses to police.
Bird also downplayed the role alcohol played in the incident, Rogers said.