CONCHO — Justin Scott Wiest, 42 of Concho is in the Apache County Jail on $550,000 in bonds, accused of two counts of attempted murder in one file, and an aggravated assault in another.
Wiest is a married father of three children who lived along County Road 8601 in Concho and was gainfully employed as a herdsman at a hog production facility in Snowflake.
In one file, the Apache County Attorney’s Office has charged Wiest with one count of aggravated assault, a Class 3 Felony, and one count of disorderly conduct with a weapon, a Class 6 Felony. He is alleged to have put a male person in reasonable apprehension of serious injury or death and used a shotgun to do it. It’s unknown whether the gun discharged. The victim is identified in court documents but will not be named herein. That incident allegedly occurred on May 2. He also was charged with failure to appear in connection with that case.
Unlike Navajo County, Apache County does not use a grand jury to bring felony charges. Rather, a prosecutor reviews reports from local police or the sheriff and drafts a document called an “information,” which sets forth the crime(s) a defendant is charged with, the date and approximate location the government believes it happened, the name or initials (involving minor victims or sex crimes) of the alleged victims, and the elements of the particular crime charged.
If the suspect is not in custody, the document is served on or mailed to the suspect with a summons to appear in court at a certain date. If the state has reason to believe the accused received the summons and did not show up on that date, the state may file a failure to appear charge. In reviewing the court file of the May 2 alleged incident, it is unclear what information that state has to believe that Wiest was aware of the date that he apparently missed. A sticker on the court file noted that there were still documents that hadn’t made their way into the file yet.
The second file alleges two counts of attempted second degree murder, Class 2 Felonies, one each against a man and a woman, two counts of aggravated assault, Class 3 Felonies, against the same two persons, discharging a firearm at a residence, a Class 3 Felony, and criminal damage to a Chevy Aveo vehicle, belonging to the two persons mentioned, a Class 6 Felony. That alleged incident happened on Sept. 3, court records stated. The very brief description in the charging document in that file alleged that Wiest shot up a residence with a .22 caliber long rifle.
Wiest is presumed by law to be innocent. If he is found guilty after a plea agreement or a trial, it remains to be discovered why a mature husband and father with a steady job would do whatever it is he is found guilty of. His next court date is Oct. 12.