Utah man freed from jail over coronavirus concerns breaks into woman's house, threatens her with knife

The incident comes after many cities have implemented plans to release state prisoners, who they consider “non-violent”, on parole amid the coronavirus outbreak as there is a possibility of it spreading in prisons


                            Utah man freed from jail over coronavirus concerns breaks into woman's house, threatens her with knife
Utah County Jail

AMERICAN FORK, UTAH: A man released on parole from a halfway house in Utah over coronavirus concerns allegedly broke into a woman’s house and threatened to kill her. The alleged incident happened on March 19 in American Fork.

According to an affidavit obtained by Desert News, Joshua J. Haskell two days after his release entered the house of the victim when she was sleeping. He tied her up at knifepoint and also threatened to kill her.

The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, told police she woke up to the sound of creaking stairs and found the man standing in front of her. She also mentioned that Haskell was carrying a knife “raised toward his head with the knife pointing down”.

“The victim began screaming and yelling, at which point the male told her to be quiet or he was going to cut her head off,” the affidavit based on the woman’s statement noted.

The testimony also stated that the 42-year-old reportedly tied up the woman’s wrists and ankles with shoelaces, and told her he was taking her bank cards, cash, her car, and her PIN numbers. Haskell also threatened her with dire consequences if she gave him the wrong numbers.

The official document stated that the police were called after the victim’s son heard his mother’s screams and called 911. However, when officers arrived, the alleged burglar got into the bed with the woman and told her to tell them he was her “lover”. 

The victim somehow managed to escape from the man when he moved the sheets to make it appear he was sleeping. The affidavit mentioned that the woman “ran downstairs to officers in a panicked and horrified manner” after which Haskell was arrested at gunpoint. The woman told the officers that she “was sure she was going to die and that she was just waiting for the suspect to stab her”. 

At the time of the alleged incident, he was in possession of drugs, the affidavit wrote. It also mentioned that Haskell was previously convicted of drug-related crimes at least four other times, and has a lengthy criminal history.

Now, the career criminal has been charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies; aggravated kidnapping, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, and drug possession, third-degree felonies in 4th District Court on Monday, March 23.

“It is of note that Haskell had recently been incarcerated at the Utah State Prison after previously being released on parole and committing a parole violation. Within the last few days, Haskell was released from the Utah State Prison to a halfway house. ... However due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, he was suddenly released on (March 17),” police noted in their affidavit.

The incident comes soon after cities across the United States have implemented plans to release state prisoners, who they consider “non-violent”, on parole amid the coronavirus outbreak as there is a possibility of it spreading in prison among inmates. COVID-19 pandemic has affected several countries around the world, including the USA that has reported over hundred deaths and more than 40,000 positive cases.

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