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Ex-beauty queen pleads to lesser charge in Utah bombing

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A former Utah beauty queen arrested on suspicion of throwing homemade bombs in a Salt Lake City suburb admitted to a lesser charge on Thursday, and was ordered to perform volunteer work, officials said.

Kendra McKenzie Gill, 18, entered a plea in abeyance in a district court to misdemeanor attempted possession of a chemical or incendiary device, according to a spokeswoman for the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Under Utah law, a plea in abeyance allows a person to complete terms imposed by a court and eventually have charges dismissed without a conviction appearing on any criminal record.

"At the end of the day, this is not going to tarnish her sparkle," said Gill's attorney, Wally Bugden.

Gill, is the former Miss Riverton, but she resigned her beauty title for the town of roughly 40,000 residents after she and three other teenagers were arrested over the August 2 incident and charged with possession of an incendiary device.

At the time, police said they had received reports of the sound of explosions in a Riverton neighborhood where investigators later found remnants of bombs constructed from household chemicals, aluminum foil and plastic water bottles.

"This wasn't intended to hurt anyone or be mean — it was intended to be funny," Bugden said.

Under the original charge, the blond former beauty queen had faced up to 15 years in prison, he said.

Now a freshmen at Utah Valley State University, Gill was ordered to complete 200 hours of community service, which includes a video to explain the prank is not funny, Bugden said.

The three other teenagers will eventually see their cases dismissed under the same plea deal given to Gill, said court spokeswoman Nancy Volmer.

(Reporting by Derek Jensen in Salt Lake City; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Gevirtz)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130926/ex-beauty-queen-pleads-lesser-charge-utah-bombing