Obstruction charges dropped in 1984 murder case

Crime » One man is serving life in prison; second defendant awaiting trial.
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A man charged with participating in the 1984 murder of a Brigham City gas station employee is no longer facing charges for refusing to testify against his co-defendant.

Wade Garrett Maughan, 54, was charged with three counts of second-degree felony obstruction of justice after refusing to testify against Glenn Howard Griffin during a 2008 jury trial.

Griffin, 52, was nevertheless convicted of first-degree murder for stabbing, binding, bludgeoning and robbing the 22-year-old Bradley Newell Perry on May 26, 1984.

In dismissing the obstruction charges this week against Maughan, 1st District Judge Kevin Allen found his refusal to testify was not intended to "hinder, delay or prevent" Griffin's prosecution, as required by statute.

Rather, Maughan -- who is also charged with murder in Perry's death -- was protecting his own right against self-incrimination, the judge said in a written decision.

The judge said Maughan's intent could be inferred from his willing assistance to police and prosecutors until the time he was charged as an accomplice to the slaying.

For purposes of Griffin's trial, Maughan was given "use immunity," meaning nothing he said on the witness stand could have been used at his own trial.

Despite that immunity, Maughan apparently "still feared that his constitutional rights needed to be protected," the judge said. "None of the facts suggest [Maughan] had any reason to prevent Mister Griffin's conviction."

Perry's slaying went unsolved until 2005, when DNA evidence put Griffin at the scene.

The DNA came from blood on a dollar bill that Griffin, posing as an attendant, gave as change to two University of Utah students who stopped for gas and cigarettes while the murder and robbery were in progress.

The students reported the encounter to police, who found Perry dead in a back room, where he had been hog-tied with an extension cord, stabbed with a screwdriver and bludgeoned with a 60-pound metal cylinder.

The dollar bill was kept in storage until improved DNA techniques were available to test it. The DNA profile matched Griffin, who in 2005 was serving time in a federal prison in California for a weapons conviction.

Maughan later told police that Griffin attacked Perry with a screwdriver during an argument over correct change. Maughan told police he held the victim's legs during the attack because Griffin threatened to kill him, too, unless he helped.

No date has been set for Maughan's murder trial. If convicted of the murder, he faces up to life in prison.