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July 30, 2021

Judge dismisses domestic violence, weapons charges against South Jordan man

SALT LAKE CITY — A South Jordan man is no longer facing domestic violence and weapons charges after a judge dismissed the counts at the request of prosecutors last week.

Third District Judge Chelsea Koch threw out charges of assault and violating a protective order based on a lack of evidence, court records from April 26 show.

Santiago Maese, 44, faced the charges since September 2019, when prosecutors alleged he assaulted a woman and said investigators found 27 weapons in his home. His defense attorney, Jeremy Delicino, didn’t return a message left with his office Monday.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Monday that his prosecutors concluded they couldn’t present certain evidence in court because they determined an initial police search of the house was not justified. In addition, the woman identified as the victim of the crimes moved away and opted not to testify in the case, Gill said.

A criminal case can proceed to trial without such testimony, but Gill said it added to a list of factors that caused concern for his office.

“I can assure you, if we had any way we felt like we could prosecute and hold the person accountable, we would have taken that option,” Gill said. “These are difficult cases, so we don’t take the dismissal lightly, but if we can’t meet the burden from an evidentiary perspective, we have no other option but to dismiss the case.”

The month after Maese was charged in the case, a judge in South Jordan Justice Court found him not guilty at a separate trial. Maese was acquitted of domestic assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child, both class B misdemeanors.

The charges dismissed last week are: aggravated assault, a second-degree felony; five counts of possession of a weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; and violation of a pretrial protective order, a class A misdemeanor.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA’s Women in Jeopardy program at 801-537-8600, or the confidential statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org.

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