Utah Candidate Charged With Pistol-Whipping Man Over Pain Pill Debt

A candidate for the Utah State Legislature is in a bit of a pickle after he allegedly kidnapped and pistol-whipped a man over a debt owed for some prescription pain pills.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Democrat Mark E. Byrge, 43, faces first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping, third-degree felony aggravated assault and second-degree felony obstructing justice charges in connection to the June 1 incident in his American Fork home.

Authorities say the attack began when the victim came to Byrge's front porch to argue over money the candidate for the District 56 House seat was allegedly owed for prescription pain pills he had given to the victim's girlfriend.

Byrge is accused of hitting the man in the face with a walking cane. After a brief scuffle, authorities say Byrge then allegedly forced the victim into his house at gunpoint, forcing the man to his knees and the pistol-whipping him repeatedly while saying the man "was going to die."

Witnesses told police that they saw the alleged victim emerge from Byrge's house covered in blood.

Police say that Byrge and his wife also tried to delete text messages detailing the unpaid drug debt.

Byrge's opponent in the Utah House race, incumbent Republican Kay J. Christofferson—who won the district in 2012 with nearly 90 percent of the vote, says that she has never even met her opponent.

"It's too bad that it's come to this," said Christofferson, who rather diplomatically added that she hoped the situation is resolved fairly for all.

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