A man who was previously convicted of manslaughter and assault in Colorado awaits trial in Moab on new felony charges stemming from an alleged April 15 assault along the Mill Creek pathway.

Samuel Leroy Layman, also known as Sampson Lameman and Samson Lameman, has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, including two third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault, and third-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a convicted felon.

Layman appeared in 7th District Court on Tuesday, May 23, via teleconference video from the Emery County Jail, where local inmates are being held during the renovation of Grand County’s jail.

Defense attorney Steve Russell asked for bail to be reduced from $25,000 to $5,000, saying that his client could come up with the lesser amount. But Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald urged 7th District Judge Lyle R. Anderson not to reduce Layman’s bail, citing the defendant’s prior criminal record.

The judge ultimately sided with the prosecutor.

“I’m not going to reduce it to $5,000,” Judge Anderson said. “There’s no point talking about it.”

Judge Anderson previously appointed Grand County Public Defender Don Torgerson as Layman’s attorney during the defendant’s initial court appearance on Tuesday, April 25.

At the time, Fitzgerald noted that one of Torgerson’s clients is an alleged victim in the case. Torgerson, in response, said that he would have to review discovery materials from the prosecutor’s office to determine if there was a potential conflict of interest.

After he looked at those materials, Torgerson learned that he currently represents a material witness and alleged victim in the case, so he filed a motion to withdraw as Layman’s attorney. The judge ultimately granted Torgerson’s request and appointed Russell as the defendant’s conflict counsel.

Layman’s jury trial in Moab is now scheduled to begin in 7th District Court on Aug. 21. Under the law, he is presumed to be innocent unless or until a court formally convicts him of any charges.

The latest charges against Layman date back to April 15, when officers responded to a report of three or four men who were “cussing and being loud” along the Mill Creek pathway.

The reporting party said the men were “yelling, screaming and cussing repeatedly,” and alleged that Layman was carrying an axe. As an officer was searching the area, a new call came over the radio that five men were fighting on the nearby footpath about the colors they were wearing, and that one of the men had a machete.

When an officer arrived at the scene, other men were circled around the Layman, and he appeared to be acting aggressively. The officer noticed another man walk over to a tree and break off a branch to use as a weapon.

As the officer approached the men, the man dropped the branch, and Layman began to walk away. Another officer approached from the north and told Layman to stop, but he continued to keep walking away. Layman allegedly resisted, and the first officer helped the second officer place the man in handcuffs, at which time, the officers allegedly smelled alcohol on him. Layman later admitted to having been drinking during the day, according to the police report. When the officer pulled his hand away, he noticed it was covered in Layman’s blood, because he had apparently fallen and cut himself on some glass earlier.

Officers interviewed the other men. The man who picked up the branch said that he had never met Layman before that day. He said that he and another man had been walking home along the footpath when Layman approached them. While they were walking toward him, Layman fell down, and when he got back up, he allegedly pulled out two large knives from his backpack and began to swing the knives at the two men.

The man with the branch said he thought that Layman was trying to stab him, so he picked up the branch for protection. During the conversation, dispatch advised that the man with the branch had two outstanding warrants, and he was arrested by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office after he filled out a witness statement.

Layman was arrested for two counts of aggravated assault. During an inventory of his backpack, officers allegedly found a blade of approximately 16 inches and a blade of approximately 6 inches, which had blood on the handle. Also inside the backpack, officers allegedly found two pipes and a red Solo cup with “weed like to party” written on it. One pipe allegedly appeared to have been used to smoke marijuana, and the other pipe allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine.

Layman allegedly gave police false information about his identity, and court documents and past media reports also provide conflicting information about his correct date of birth: It’s listed alternately as Nov. 14, 1975, and Nov. 14, 1978.

Dispatch subsequently conducted a criminal history background search on the man and learned that Layman had been convicted in Colorado of manslaughter.

A Feb. 12, 2007, article in the Denver Post details an incident involving alcohol, an argument, a revolver and a game of Russian roulette that resulted in the death of 26-year-old Tasha Posey at the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in May 2006.

According to a January 18, 2011, article in the Durango Herald, prosecutors charged Layman – who was known at the time as Lameman – with second-degree murder. But a federal jury in Durango ultimately found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the Herald reported.

A March 2, 2010, article in the Durango Herald says that Layman also pleaded guilty in federal court to misdemeanor assault involving domestic violence.

In that incident, the Herald reported, Layman grabbed a woman by the left arm, bent it behind her and shoved her onto a bed, holding her face down in a pillow so she couldn’t breathe. “He then put his fingers in her mouth and hooked the right side of her mouth and tried to rip it off. The woman then bit his fingers so he would let go, at which time Layman punched her on the left side of her face with a closed fist,” the Herald reported.

Defendant previously convicted of manslaughter in Colorado

I’m not going to reduce (his bail) to $5,000 … There’s no point talking about it.