AMERICAN FORK -- A man accused of a July 4 murder in Payson was bound over for trial Thursday.
Keenan Thompson sat quietly as he heard 4th District Judge Thomas Low pronounce the decision. He could face up to life in prison if convicted of the slaying of William K.C. Wright.
Thursday was the third day of a preliminary hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to bring the case to trial. Thompson will be back for a status conference on July 23. Thompson pleaded "absolutely not guilty," "not guilty," "not guilty" and "not guilty" to counts of murder, a first-degree felony, obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, possession of a firearm by a restricted person and possession or use of a controlled substance, both third-degree felonies.
Two witnesses presented evidence on Thursday. Carston Terry said he was with Wright at the time of Wright's death. Wright had a party at his home the evening of July 3 and many of those attending had been drinking, Terry said. A 15-year-old neighbor had repeatedly come to the party, but been rebuffed by Wright, who said he did not want any underage drinking at his home. Cordy Greenhalgh, the teen, reportedly said he was going to call his cousin to kill the others.
Thompson, Greenhalgh's cousin, arrived, Wright and Terry went toward his car, at the same time Greenhalgh was approaching from another direction.
"K.C. had his palms out," Terry said. "I don't think it was threatening. K.C. said something like, 'Hey man, everything is fine.' " Within 30 seconds, Wright was on the ground, bleeding from a knife wound. Terry said he did not see the knife, but saw Thompson get out of the car and do a "360-type motion," pivoting around. Terry heard the sound of metal hitting something, then saw blood everywhere.
"I heard a 'ting,' " he said. "I was no more than eight feet behind him."
Wright was taken to Mountain View Hospital in Payson and pronounced dead at 4:19 a.m. on July 4.
Public defender Dana Facemyer said he wanted to call expert witnesses for the trial and asked for 90 days to decide on and obtain those witnesses. They would be asked to testify on forensic evidence and medical evidence related to both the defendant and the victim.
Thompson has claimed self defense and has said in police interviews that Wright came at him first.
In previous testimony Greenhalgh said when Thompson arrived Wright and several other men were running at him at full speed.
Along with a possible self defense plea, Thompson's attorneys may be considering indicating he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, after his years in the Navy.