3-to-life in prison for Ogden man in attempted child kidnapping | News, Sports, Jobs | #childabductors


BEN DORGER, Standard-Examiner file photo

The 2nd District Court is seen on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in downtown Ogden.


OGDEN — An Ogden man has been sentenced to three years to life in prison for trying to kidnap an 11-year-old girl from an elementary school, an abduction thwarted by two school employees.

Second District Judge Camille Neider ordered the sentence Monday after attorneys argued whether Ira Cox-Berry, 42, should receive jail time rather than prison time. The judge also weighed several confidential victim impact statements and a letter from the defendant’s mother.

About 20 children were nearby on the Lincoln Elementary School playground on May 25, 2021, when Cox-Berry grabbed the girl, prompting a school employee to challenge him, retrieve the girl and usher the children inside, charging documents said.

After Cox-Berry punched a school window, a different school employee emerged with a handgun to confront Cox-Berry. Police arrived and arrested Cox-Berry after a struggle.

Police said Cox-Berry appeared to be intoxicated by narcotics and that the girl involved and Cox-Berry did not know one another.

A plea bargain was reached by the Weber County Attorney’s Office and defense attorney Roy Cole in which they agreed to argue the penalty Cox-Berry would receive for the conviction of first-degree felony attempted child kidnapping. State law calls for a sentence of three years to life in prison, but prison time is not mandatory — judges have discretion to suspend a prison sentence and order jail time..

Cole last month submitted to the court a letter from Cox-Berry’s mother, Carolyn Cox. She wrote that her son has had a lifetime of physical and mental health problems.

“He has been hallucinating all of his life,” she said. “He has conversations with people that are not there.”

Cox-Berry has attempted suicide three times since he was 13, she said, and had been in mental treatment several times. “I’m pretty sure if he goes to prison he will find a way to kill himself,” she said.

She said Cox-Berry was on medication that helped his mental state but then he lost insurance to cover them. “He turned to self-medicating with illegal drugs,” she said.

Cox referred to a report that Cox-Berry called the girl “Emily” when he grabbed her. Cox said her son wanted to name his daughter Emily, but his girlfriend chose a different name.

Neider gave Cox-Berry credit for time served in the Weber County Jail, about 15 months.

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