ST. GEORGE — The first of two teens charged with attempted murder and aggravated robbery appeared in court for sentencing last week on a case that began with a report of gunshots in the Bloomington Hills area.

Booking photo of Lars Randal Albertsen, 19, of St. George, who appears for sentencing on robbery and theft charges in 5th District Court in St. George, Utah, on Nov. 2, 2023 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Nov. 2, 19-year-old Lars Randal Albertsen appeared before District Judge John J. Walton via Webex for a sentencing hearing held in 5th District Court on first-degree felony aggravated robbery. The remaining charges, including attempted murder, felony discharge of a firearm, property damage and a second aggravated robbery charge were dismissed under the terms of the plea agreement that was reached during a waiver hearing held in September.

The case of six gunshot wounds 

On the night of Jan. 23, the St. George Communication Center received a 911 call reporting gunshots in the Bloomington Hills area. At the scene, officers found bullet casings and other evidence supporting the caller’s statements, but the suspects were nowhere to be seen.

Officers were then made aware that an individual with six gunshot wounds to his right arm had shown up at St. George Regional Hospital’s emergency department, which prompted the St. George Police Department to request help from the public in identifying those responsible, as previously reported by St. George News in January.

Detectives identified a total of eight suspects involved in the incident, two of whom reportedly remained in a vehicle, while the remaining six approached the injured man’s car during the incident.

The shooting resulted from a botched robbery, which authorities allege was facilitated by both Albertsen and his codefendant, Gavin David Williams, 20. And both are believed to have assisted in the planning of the incident, as well as firing at the injured man’s vehicle as it sped away. The evidence also suggested it was Williams who provided the guns to the others the night of the incident.

Before the shooting happened, Albertsen reportedly sent the injured man photographs of U.S. currency as proof he had the money to purchase marijuana, when in fact, he “never had any intention (of) actually purchasing it,” the officer noted.

Albertsen was arrested in St. George in the early morning hours of May 22 after an officer found him sitting in a vehicle at the overlook on South Tech Ridge Drive. A handgun, later found to be reported as stolen, was recovered from the waistband of his pants. He was arrested and declined to answer any questions when prompted by police.

The sentencing hearing 

Ryan Stout, Albertsen’s defense attorney, called his client “quite young,” and asked the court to follow the terms of the plea agreement by sentencing Albertsen to follow the terms of the plea agreement, which includes a year in jail and probation.

Lars Randal Albertsen, 19, of St. George, appears for sentencing via Webex on robbery and theft charges in 5th District Court in St. George, Utah, on Nov. 2, 2023 | Court pool photo by St. George News

The state’s position was the same, and Prosecutor Lane Wood asked that Albertsen be given credit for time served, but no good time, and that he be ordered to maintain employment or schooling, as well as complete any substance abuse or mental health treatment, in addition to an anger management class and other standard provisions.

In his redirect, Stout said all proposed recommendations took into account the seriousness of the crime but also were geared toward helping Albertsen succeed on probation.

“I’d like to see, and I think society would like to see, Mr. Albertsen succeed on probation,” Stout added. 

Ultimately, the judge sentenced Albertsen to serve one year in jail in Washington County, with credit for the 164 days he has already served. He also ordered that Albertsen complete a life skills course, as well as an anger management class and other standard provisions. Albertsen was also placed on four years’ probation.

In addition, Walton ordered that Albertsen be involved in either full-time schooling or employment. He said if the defendant enrolled in a trade school or college program, he would be given community service credit. And if he completes that program, the judge will consider terminating his probation early.

The judge looked at Albertsen and said the crimes committed by him were “very serious offenses.”

Even so, there were circumstances in the case that would justify what would be deemed as a lighter sentence, as long as the defendant successfully completed the requirements.

And I can tell you right now that especially for a young man, such as yourself, if you get in there and do what they asked you to do, and don’t try and trick them and fool them, but you just do what they asked you to do. That’ll be it,” the judge said. 

If, on the other hand, the defendant violates his probation or commits any new offenses, “then it’s all off the table,” Walton said, adding that Albertsen could go to prison for a long time. “Until you’re an old man and … we would all consider that to be a tragedy.”

The case against the second defendant, Williams, is slated for a four-day jury trial to be held in 5th District Court in St. George starting May 24, 2024, before District Judge Keith C. Barnes.

St. George News reporter Jessi Bang contributed to this report.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.