Hyrum man sentenced to jail after accepting plea deal to avoid prison

Booking photo for Jaren Liljenquist (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 21-year-old Hyrum man has been sent to jail after being convicted of giving drugs to an underage girl and having sex with her. Jaren K. Liljenquist told the court he felt remorse for what he did, as he was sentenced to serve one year behind bars.

Liljenquist was sentenced in 1st District Court Monday morning. He previously pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony; and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, a third-degree felony.

Earlier this year, Liljenquist was admitted into Drug Court, a weekly rehab program that is overseen by a judge, allowing him to avoid a jail sentence on previous drug misdemeanors.

On June 27, he failed to appear in court and had a warrant issued for his arrest. Police later located him and found that he had been giving the 14-year-old girl drugs, and engaged in sex with her multiple times.

During Monday’s sentencing, public defender Shannon Demler said, Liljenquist wants to change his life. He explained that his client had a history of mental health and financial problems.

Liljenquist said he knew the difference between right and wrong. He felt like he deserved the consequences for his actions.

The mother of the victim tearfully told the court how what the defendant had done had caused severe consequences on her daughter’s emotional state. She also hoped Liljenquist did well with his life but has nothing to do with her family in the future.

Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray called Liljenquist’s actions disgusting. He explained that prosecutors would have asked for a prison sentence but the defendant had agreed to testify against two other defendants.

Judge Thomas Willmore expressed some frustration with prosecutors, saying that Liljenquist should be sent to prison instead of jail. He explained that he felt like his hands were tied, following the plea deal that was worked out. He warned the defendant that if he harmed another person, he would be looking at 20 years.


will@cvradio.com

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