Juggalo battle-ax attempted murder case hits Utah appeals court
Courts » West Jordan man claims he was under extreme emotional distress during the attack.
By jim dalrymple II
A West Jordan man who participated in a battle-ax attack on his girlfriend’s ex-lover will have his case heard by the Utah Court of Appeals today.
Cody Jesse Augustine, 25, was convicted of first-degree felony attempted murder two years ago for repeatedly stabbing 17-year-old Justin Ennis outside his Kearns home in 2008.
Augustine was sentenced to three years to life in prison, but is appealing, arguing that his attorney was ineffective and one of his experts was not allowed to testify at the trial.
During that trial, Augustine testified that he fell victim to his "own passion and stupidity" after believing he had picked up a sexually transmitted disease. Augustine thought he caught the disease from his girlfriend, who in turn said she got it after having sex with Ennis.
As a result, Augustine and his friend Scott Tyler Stapley went to Ennis’ home on July 29, 2008. According to Augustine’s testimony, his girlfriend lured Ennis outside with an offer for sex. When Ennis came outside, Augustine and Stapley attacked him.
During the attack, Stapley reportedly wielded a four-bladed warrior ax with a spiky ball attached. Augustine used a knife.
Augustine testified at the trial that he didn’t know Stapley planned to join in with the ax and that he only stabbed Ennis out of fear for his safety and because his adrenaline was pumping.
However, prosecutors described the incident as being like a "Hollywood slasher flick," and said Augustine had planned to kill Ennis from the get-go. At the trial, Ennis removed his shirt to show jurors his scars. He suffered an 8-inch cut to his neck, a 10-1/2-inch cut in his left pectoral muscle and smaller cuts on his shoulder and hands. It required more than 300 stitches to close his 12 wounds, five of which were from being stabbed, and Ennis spent five days in the hospital recovering.
Stapley, 26, was convicted in 2009 of attempted murder. A judge sentenced him to three years to life in prison.
Police described both of the men as Juggalos, fans of the Insane Clown Posse rap group. Juggalos and their female counterparts, Juggalettes, are classified as a gang by Utah law enforcement.
In his appeal, Augustine argues that he was under extreme emotional distress when the attack was happening and an expert witness should have been allowed to say as much during his trial. State attorneys counter that Augustine’s distress was caused because he was attacking Ennis and the argument is therefore invalid.
Augustine also is arguing that his attorney improperly handled the jury instructions relating to emotional distress.
Assistant Attorney General Karen Klucznik plans to ask the court to uphold Augustine’s conviction.