The indictment also includes the company that employed him.
Coleman Nocks, 63, declined to comment Thursday in the indictment, but said he may be willing to comment at a later date. And Bugman Pest and Lawn owner Ray Wilson said that company is no longer in business. He declined further comment.
Nocks and Bugman Pest and Lawn are charged with three counts of unlawful use of a registered pesticide, all class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in prison and $25,000 fine for each count.
With the federal indictment, Layton City dismissed its charges against Nocks, without prejudice, meaning the city could refile them at a later date. Nocks was awaiting trial in 2nd District Court in Layton on negligent homicide charges. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the indictment, Nocks placed the pesticide Fumitoxin within 15 feet of homes on three occasions at homes in Layton, Centerville and North Salt Lake, in a manner “inconsistent with its labeling.”
An investigation, involving the United States Attorney’s Office, the Layton City Attorney’s Office, the Layton City Police Department and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, was conducted leading to the case’s transfer.
Assistant Layton City Attorney Steve Garside said that because the majority of cases were outside of Layton the decision was made to transfer the Layton case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “This will facilitate a more efficient use of resources, precluding a duplication of processes, while reaching the same objectives,” Garside said.
Nocks was working for Bugman on Feb. 5, 2010, when he allegedly placed the pesticide around the home of Nathan and Brenda Toone to get rid of a problem the family was having with voles, a small rodent. Four-year-old Rebecca Toone and her 15-month-old sister, Rachel died a few days after the pesticide was applied, prompting the investigation into the cause of the girls’ deaths.
“Strict regulations are in place for dealing with registered pesticides because of the potential for serious harm if they are applied incorrectly,” said U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen.
“When homeowners hire pesticide service companies, they have the right to expect that the company and its representatives will follow those rules and regulations. When that trust is broken, we can have the type of tragic out come that led to ... the indictment,” Christensen said in a press release.
Upon hearing of the indictment, the Toone family released a statement saying: “We reaffirm our intent to cooperate with government officials who pursue justice for the deaths of our daughters, Rebecca and Rachel.
“We have confidence in our country's legal system and in the abilities of those responsible for interpreting, updating and enforcing the laws of the land. As the difficult one year anniversary approaches, we remain appreciative for the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and community.
“Beyond this statement, we do not wish to comment.”