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Curtis Allgier threatens to fire attorneys during another hearing over his weight

Published: Monday, Sept. 12 2011 5:33 p.m. MDT

Prison inmate Curtis Allgier, charged with capital murder and seven other felonies for the June, 25, 2007, slaying of 60-year-old prison officer Stephen Anderson, who was killed with his own gun while taking Allgier to the University Hospital for an MRI, appears in court in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.

Francisco Kjolseth

SALT LAKE CITY — In another hearing where the issue of Curtis Allgier's weight went unresolved, the man facing capital murder charges spoke up and threatened to fire his attorneys.

"If you guys want to keep jerking me around, I'll fire these attorneys and represent myself," Allgier said in court Monday. "If you want to play games with me, then fine. They're fired. I'll represent myself." 

The man was apparently frustrated after having been moved to the Utah State Prison from the Salt Lake County Jail, where he has repeatedly complained about the conditions. When 3rd District Judge Paul Maughan suggested the move came at the inmate's request, Allgier responded with repeated inquiries of: "When did I request that?" followed by the threat to fire his attorneys.

Such a threat would conceivably further delay a trial, which is scheduled to take place in June 2012 — five years after the killing.

Defense attorney Dusty Kawai said the decision to move Allgier to prison was actually made by the Utah Department of Corrections. Kawai told Maughan that Allgier now has less contact with family and friends and has ants in his cell at the Draper prison.

"You can see that (Allgier) is frustrated," Kawai said after the hearing. "He honestly feels he's being toyed with."

Still, Kawai said the move resolved some concerns Allgier had at the jail. Allgier has complained that jail officials were reading his mail and taping the meetings he had with attorneys.

But the transfer still hasn't led to Allgier having access to more food. His attorneys have filed a motion asking that Allgier be given double portions in an effort to have him gain 50 pounds and return to the weight he was at in 2007 when the killing occurred.

It was in June of that year that prosecutors say Allgier shot and killed corrections officer Stephen Anderson, 60, who was transporting Allgier on a hospital visit from the prison. 

Prosecutors say the inmate took Anderson's gun following a struggle. Anderson was shot in the head and chest. Allgier then fled the clinic, carjacked a vehicle, led police on a high-speed chase and was eventually captured at a fast-food restaurant, police say.

Defense attorneys said Allgier's weight matters because Allgier has long claimed that he went to the restaurant to surrender. The man who said he was able to disarm Allgier was, at the time, much smaller than Allgier. Currently, the men are closer to the same size. The defense wants jurors to see Allgier at his original weight to better illustrate their theory.

Prosecutors with Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office said that since Allgier has now been moved to the state prison, the decision on Allgier's portions will need to be made by the Utah Attorney General's Office.

"We don't have standing to deal with this issue at this time," prosecutor Vincent Meister said. "We have no position and can take no position. (Allgier) is a state prisoner."

Kawai said that if the issue isn't resolved between attorneys on both sides of the case, a hearing will need to be held on the motion.

Meantime, both sides agreed that defense attorneys could bring in a psychologist to evaluate Allgier.

Allgier is facing a number of felony charges including capital murder and will face a potential death penalty if convicted.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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