Beauty Queen Relinquishes Title After Arrested on Bomb Charges

PHOTO: Former Miss Riverton Kendra Gill, pictured in court, Aug. 29, 2013, is charged with throwing homemade bombs.
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Lawyers for a former Miss Utah hopeful say a plea agreement is being negotiated to reduce the charges against the beauty queen accused of hurling homemade bombs in a Salt Lake City suburb.

Kendra Gill, 18, appeared in court Thursday on four counts of possessing an explosive device and faces a possible 15-year sentence. Three of Gill's friends, all 18 years old, also face felony bomb possession charges. The defendants weren't required to enter a plea and their next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Gill relinquished her Miss Riverton title, a $2,000 scholarship and the chance to compete for Miss Utah so she can focus on her criminal defense.

The former beauty queen is taking responsibility publicly, telling Utah TV station KSL-TV that she never meant to harm anyone.

"Like we didn't think about what we were doing at the time. And we never thought it would get to this point. We just, you know, meant for it to be a practical joke and never had any intentions to harm anyone at all," she said.

The four teens are accused of going on a joy ride Aug. 2 and tossing water bottles filled with legal household chemicals that the group purchased at Walmart.

Concerned residents called 911 describing what they heard as "dynamite or loud firecrackers."

"They were like plastic bottles I think and some liquid in them that's foaming and they were smoking when they threw them," one resident told a 911 dispatcher.

Authorities say the crude devices had the explosive power to remove a limb, but no one was injured.

All four teens were arrested Saturday and held on $50,000 bond. They were released the following day.

"The state is clearly trying to send a message to young kids if you're going to do a prank, stick with toilet paper. That's really the message," said Walter Budgen, Gill's defense attorney.

Budgen told KSL that the teens never aimed the bottle at an individual.

"You could say it's possible that the chemical could splash on someone, but that certainly was not their intention," Bugden said. "They weren't trying to harm anyone. They were playing a prank."

The other young adults charged in the case are John Patrick Reagh, Shanna Marie Smith and Bryce Christopher Stone.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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