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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
Attorney • 435-649-2525

Charges Filed In Wake Of Deaths Caused By Pesticide

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I’ve written several posts about the tragic February deaths of two young sisters in Layton that were caused by the use of Fumitoxin aluminum phosphide around their family home, and the ensuing tougher rules for application imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Now action is being taken against the exterminator that applied the fumigant in rodent holes around the home and his employer.

Assistant Layton City Attorney Steve Garside said his office would file two counts of negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, against 62-year-old Coleman Nocks. The charges were filed after an investigation concluded Nocks was criminally negligent and took a "substantial and unjustifiable risk" when he applied the poison too close to the family’s home. Approximately one and a half pounds of aluminum phosphide pellets were put in rodent burrows along a sidewalk leading to the front porch, which put them within about 7 feet of the front door and 3 feet of the garage. Guidelines issued by the manufacturer indicate that the fumigant is not to be used within 15 feet of any building occupied by people or animals, especially residences.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has also initiated action against Nocks and his employer, Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc., of Bountiful. The department is seeking to revoke Nock’s applicator license and has filed multiple violations of the Utah Pesticide Control Act against the company. Proposed fines of as much as $27,000 for Nocks and as much as $32,000 for Bugman will be considered at an administrative hearing to be held June 1-3. An investigation into whether criminal charges should be filed against Bugman is ongoing.