Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 25, 2021
In 1971, jury finds Tooele man guilty of first degree murder

The Tooele Transcript Bulletin has published Tooele County news since 1894. Here is a flashback of local front-page news from 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago that occurred during the fourth week of February.

Feb. 27-29, 1996

The Tooele Hospital Special Service District Board was reviewing its options in regards to the future management of the hospital.

At Thursday’s board meeting, the board heard two different proposals to provide management services at Tooele Valley Regional Medical Center. One of the proposals was from St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake CIty.

During an emergency meeting in January, the board terminated its management agreement with Quorum Health Resources. Quorum agreed to provide temporary services for a period of 60 days.

Later in the week, the Utah state engineer visited Tooele to inform the public he was closing Tooele Valley to all new groundwater appropriations.

The policy went into effect during the week and would continue until a study was completed to determine the groundwater resources of the Tooele Valley.

State Engineer Robert Morgan estimated the study would be completed by the summer of 1997.

Feb. 23-26, 1971

Tooele’s finely-honed wrestling team, peaked to perfection by coaches Larry Silcox and Paul Dart, pulled off a major upset in Region 3 when it defeated heavily favored Brighton and captured the Region championship at Cottonwood High School

Tooele grabbed the crown by compiling 81 points to 73 for Brighton.

With the victory, Tooele qualified nine of its 12 wrestlers for the state tournament. Tooele won two individual titles, one second, four third-place finishes, and two fourth-place finishes.

Later in the week, Bennett Merle Bellwood was found guilty of first degree murder by a nine-man and three-woman jury which deliberated two hours before returning their verdict at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, February 23.

Bellwood was accused along with Ruth Ruby Breece, with the shooting death of Ronald Paul Smith, 22. All three were residents of Tooele.

No date for the trial of Mrs. Breece had been set pending a motion before the court to quash the charges against her.

Feb. 26-29, 1946

Stealing of automobiles hit Tooele County with epidemic proportions during the previous two weeks.

Autos had been stolen from Don Dicob and Jack Powell of Tooele; and Elbert Lawrence of Grantsville. All vehicles were later recovered in different sections of the county. 

An auto stolen from Herman Pedersen had never been recovered. It was the second time his auto had been stolen.

During the previous week, three out-of-state cars were recovered on the Wendover Highway, all of which had been previously stolen and abandoned along the road.

Later in the week, Tooele City’s new city court would be legally established and put in operation, according to Mayor A.D. Tanner.

Although County Attorney L.E. Kramer was elected City Judge at the last city election, it was necessary that the city court be established by ordinance before it could become operative.

Judge John C. Bryan, who had presided over the City Justice Court for a number of years, would terminate his services with the swearing in of Judge Kramer. 

Feb. 25, 1921

The safe of the Deseret Bank of Grantsville was blown apart about 3 last Monday morning, and the compartment holding bonds and papers was rifled of the valuable parts of its contents, while the compartment holding cash remained untouched.

The exact amount taken in Liberty Bonds and postage stamps, and the latter deposited there by the postmaster, was not known yet. Bank officials were still checking up on the loss.

The robbery was not discovered until 8:30 a.m. when Ray Hammond saw that the bank had been entered and reported the matter to the bank officials.


Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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