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Crime and Safety

Man awaiting trial for manslaughter passes away from illness



PROVO, UT—Homer Dilts Workman,72 was charged in connection with a house fire three years ago where one woman lost her life.

He passed away on Jan.10 after a short illness.

Workman and Kelly Ellis, owners of the house that burned down in June 2018, are held responsible for the death Donna Clegg, 48.

They were charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

The documents in court say that Ellis and Workman were told by the city a couple of years ago that the house couldn’t be rented out until it was brought up to code. They chose to ignore that and continued to collect rent from Clegg and split the money with Ellis.

“This is not a case of people who found a roof and moved in and are living there without the knowledge and or consent of the owner,” said Battalion Chief Lynn Schofield with Provo Fire and Rescue. “They were not squatters.”

Ellis also had another property that caught fire in 2016. It was not up to standards, it didn’t have smoke detectors and wasn’t insured.

The Fire Department said the house didn’t have functional smoke detectors, and Workman shut off the electricity without telling the victim. They had to use candles for light, which probably caused the fire which spread very fast.

The door and windows were blocked, so Clegg couldn’t get out of the house and died of smoke inhalation.

The judge dismissed Workman’s case after confirming he is deceased. Ellis’s case remains in pre-trial stages.