Riverside County Sheriff's Department cruiser. File photo: Toni McAllister
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department cruiser. File photo: Toni McAllister

A probationer who allegedly held family members hostage at a Temecula-area property and was shot by sheriff’s deputies following an hours-long standoff  was released on his own recognizance Monday after two months in custody, and is next due in court in late April.

Robert Scott Utley, 59, is facing two counts each of false imprisonment and assault with a firearm, as well as one count of elder abuse and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a gun in the commission of a felony.

The defendant had been held in lieu of $200,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center. Based on a defense motion and a favorable pretrial services report, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen ruled that Utley could be released on his own recognizance — with no bond requirement — subject to supervision by the Department of Probation.

Hansen scheduled a felony settlement conference for April 24 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

Utley was arrested Jan. 4 in the 47400 block of Sandia Creek Drive, in the unincorporated community of De Luz, just west of Temecula.  According to sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Willison, deputies were called to the 20-acre property about 4 that afternoon to investigate a domestic disturbance and learned that Utley was allegedly armed and threatening “to harm anyone who attempted to approach the residence” — or leave the premises.

A man and woman were holed up in a guest house, while Utley was in the main residence, Willison said.

Attempts to negotiate with Utley failed, and a sheriff’s SWAT detail was summoned to subdue the defendant, according to the sergeant.

“SWAT members made multiple attempts to contact Utley, but he refused to exit peacefully,” Willison said.

The deputies stormed the house shortly after 11 p.m., opening fire on the probationer, who suffered minor gunshot wounds. No deputies were injured.

Utley was taken to a Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar for treatment and recovered from his injuries. He was booked into the Murrieta jail days later.

According to court records, the defendant has prior misdemeanor convictions for vandalism and reckless driving.

–City News Service

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