UTAH STATE PRISON — Curtis Allgier released a recorded statement Thursday to dispel rumors sparked by a letter he wrote that he would withdraw his guilty plea in the death of a corrections officer.
"I just want it to be clarified that I want this over," Allgier said in the recording. "I want this done. Other people want it over and want it done. I'm not withdrawing my plea. Do I have thoughts of that? Of course I'm going to have thoughts of that, because I know in my heart that I'm not guilty of certain things, but everyone wants it done."
On Oct. 3, Allgier, 33, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated murder, disarming a peace officer, aggravated escape, aggravated robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon in connection with the 2007 shooting death of Department of Corrections officer Stephen Anderson, 60, and a subsequent escape attempt. He also pleaded no contest to three counts of attempted aggravated murder.
The man said he made the decision to plead guilty after more than five years of myriad court hearings out of respect for Anderson's family.
Attorney Dusty Kawai said Tuesday that after Allgier changed his plea, he saw an attorney not affiliated with the case making comments on a news report that Allgier had made a mockery of the system. Those comments reportedly angered the inmate, and he impulsively wrote a letter to a friend claiming he was going to withdraw his plea.
The letter was released to at least one Salt Lake City media outlet, prompting Allgier to make the recording to clarify that he was just venting his frustrations and that he was primarily angered by the comments from the unaffiliated attorney. Allgier also said he had been fasting when he wrote the letter, which made it so his "mindset was not where it should be."
He reiterated in the recording that he did not take the plea because he was guilty, or for any other reason than to show respect for Anderson's family, "whether it's appreciated or taken to heart or not."
In exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty. When he is sentenced Dec. 5, Allgier is expected to get life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In the recording, he talked about various Utah State Prison officials, including "99 percent" of the staff that regularly works with him, as being respectful to him. He said he has also not caused problems for them and has not feared for his life in any way.
"I'm a grown man. I can do my time," he said. "I can do my time just fine, no matter where I go."
Anderson was shot and killed June 26, 2007, while escorting Allgier from the prison to University Hospital.
Allgier, who is known for the tattoos that cover nearly his entire body, is accused of shooting Anderson in the head and chest during the escape attempt and then fleeing from University Hospital on foot.
He is charged with using Anderson's weapon to steal a vehicle and then leading police on a high-speed chase on I-80, I-15 and I-215 at speeds exceeding 100 mph.
When the vehicle's tires were spiked, Allgier continued to flee on foot, eventually running into an Arby's restaurant near 1700 South and Redwood Road. There, police say Allgier pointed a gun at the head of an Arby's employee before a patron was able to wrest the gun from him.
In the recorded statement, Allgier denied that the incident was anything more than an accident. He said he anticipates saying more at his sentencing hearing.
- Many Mormon missionaries who return home...
- Rare snowstorm traps I-15 motorists overnight...
- About Utah: After 72 years, Keith Hottinger...
- Drunk driver crashes through West Valley...
- John Swallow lost computer hard drive on...
- Snow wreaks havoc across state, curbs travel...
- Hill Air Force Base employee killed in...
- Flu season off and running in Utah; H1N1...
- Utah judge could be first to rule on... 117
- Many Mormon missionaries who return... 70
- Federal website fixes allowing more... 44
- Tea Party Express endorses Sen. Mike... 29
- As winter takes hold, needs increase... 29
- Utahns react to death of Nelson Mandela 26
- Gov. Gary Herbert unveils $13.3 billion... 18
- Expelling Santa from school? Holiday... 16