On the final day of trial involving the 2018 attack at Lee Cleaners, prosecutor Jerry Jaeger told jurors in an impassioned closing argument that “Stephen Gardner needed to pay for this horrific crime.” The jury agreed.
District Judge John J. Walton panels jurors after verdict is read during trial of Stephen Gardner, 5th District Court, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
The jury deliberated for just over an hour Tuesday to find Gardner guilty on all counts, including first-degree felony aggravated robbery, second-degree felony theft, third-degree theft and burglary of a vehicle.
The charges stem from an incident reported July 4, 2018, when Gardner entered Lee Cleaners at 4 a.m. and struck Ralph Lee, Sr. multiple times in the head before ransacking the business. After severely injuring Lee, who is now 70, Gardner went through the business owner’s pockets as he lay unconscious on the floor, according to police.
The defendant has remained in jail since he was arrested for an unrelated case on July 13.