ST. GEORGE – A LaVerkin man charged with murdering an acquaintance last year in a drunken brawl pleaded guilty Thursday to lesser charges of manslaughter and obstruction of justice.

55 year old John Stettler Stucki  faced a possible sentence of up to life in prison if a jury had found him guilty at trial on claims he fatally beat 64-year-old Donald George Loomer with a 2-by-4-sized tree branch in October 2013.

Under the terms of the amended charges, Stucki’s guilty pleas to the second-degree felony count of manslaughter and third-degree felony count of obstruction will result in one year of prison on each of the charges, to be served consecutively.

Stucki has already been incarcerated for more than a year in the Purgatory Correctional Facility since his arrest.

ST. GEORGE – The Toquerville teenager charged with murdering a neighbor has apparently received a split diagnosis from doctors appointed to determine his mental competency for trial, and a hearing next month will evaluate the reports to decide what will happen.

18 year old Joshua David Canfield is being held in the Purgatory Correctional Facility and has previously expressed some impatience while waiting for the doctors to get the evaluations done.

Defense attorney Edward Flint noted Canfield has spent time in isolation at the jail.

In August, Flint’s partner, Aric Cramer, expressed concerns about Canfield’s mental status, writing to the court that “observations and communication with the Defendant … (show) reasonable grounds exist to believe the Defendant is not competent to proceed.”

Fifth District Court Judge John Walton said Thursday that two forensic psychiatrists appointed to review Canfield have submitted their findings to the court, one finding that Canfield is mentally competent and the other that he isn’t.

(Salt Lake City, UT)  –  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has two new missions in the works.  The “Deseret News” reports the Church plans to create missions next year in Orem and in Yakima, Washington.  The Church has not yet officially confirmed the news.  Church spokesman Dale Jones says, quote, “Announcements regarding missions are made by the First Presidency,” adding “additional information will be provided at the appropriate time.”