ST. GEORGE — A 56-year-old St. George man is in jail charged with a first-degree felony after allegedly beating a female neighbor to gain entry into her residence, police say.

In this 2021 file photo for illustrative purposes only St. George Police respond to an incident on South River Road, St. George, Dec. 17, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The charges were filed following an incident reported shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday, when officers responded to an a residence on South River Road to a report of a possible burglary and assault.

According to charging documents filed with the court, officers arrived and spoke to the reporting party who said the incident started when she heard a noise near the entryway of her home and stuck her head out of her front door to see what was going on. As soon as she did, she said the suspect approached and told her he needed to get into the house.

He then proceeded to enter her home despite her telling him he was entering the wrong unit and asking the person to leave.

When she attempted to block the doorway to stop him, she told officers the man began punching her in the face with a closed fist. He continued striking the woman as she was backing away, then he pushed her to the ground, with the suspect falling to the ground in the process.

When the two got back on their feet, the report states, the victim said she ran into her bathroom to hide. Shortly thereafter, she was able to call for help.

While processing the scene, officers noticed a pair of prescription glasses that they later learned belonged to the suspect. Officers also determined that the injuries to the woman’s face were consistent with her account of the attack, according to the report.

Stock image | St. George News

In the meantime, a second officer arrived and found a pickup truck with its rear door ajar and parked in front of a residence with the front door wide open. As the officer continued towards the door, he encountered the suspect who was later identified as 52-year-old Christopher Hayes Faulkner.

The officer also noticed the man was carrying an envelope and some papers — mail that officers subsequently determined had been taken from the victim’s home, the report alleges.

The suspect reportedly told police he had entered the woman’s residence thinking it was his home and denied ever striking the neighbor in the face. He went on to tell police it was the woman who had pushed him first, so he responded by pushing her back.

When asked, he said he had no answer as to why he took the mail from the neighbor’s home office. The man “appeared confused” the officer noted of the encounter with police.

Investigators also learned that Faulkner “had a long history of opioid abuse,” according to the report.

File photo of Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 20, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The suspect was transported to the hospital where he was medically cleared, then he was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility.

On Thursday, the case was sent to the Washington County Attorney’s Office and the defendant was formally charged with first-degree aggravated burglary, as well as one misdemeanor count each of mail theft and assault.

Faulkner made an initial appearance in 5th District Court on Friday and bail has been set at $10,000.

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.

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