'That guy didn't deserve that,' Curtis Allgier says of murdered officer
Tattooed inmate gets life sentence plus at least 36 years
SALT LAKE CITY — Curtis Allgier turned to the family of the man he murdered, crying incessantly.
"I apologize from the bottom of my heart," he said Wednesday during his sentencing hearing. "I didn't want to hurt anybody. It was an accident. … That guy didn't deserve that. He didn't deserve it."
Allgier told Stephen Anderson's family that what happened that day was a mistake — an accident as a result of a "split second" decision. But during his 30-minute speech, he also, at times, focused on himself and his own difficulties. He ranted, cursed, criticized the attorneys who represented him and questioned the evidence against him.
A son and daughter of the slain corrections officer chose not to address Allgier, focusing instead on their father.
"He was the greatest man I've ever known," Anderson's son, Shawn Anderson, said. "He was always very kind and looking for ways to help others. He was a wonderful husband, wonderful father. … He loved my mom so much and he loved his family."
The sentence from 3rd District Judge Paul Maughan was almost a foregone conclusion, as it had been part of the plea agreement Allgier accepted when he pleaded guilty to aggravated murder on Oct. 3. The plea deal removed the possibility of the death penalty and required Allgier to plead guilty to all of the charges leveled against him stemming from the escape that resulted in the murder of Anderson, 60.
Maughn ordered Allgier to serve the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. He also sentenced the man to serve consecutive terms totaling at least 36 additional years for other charges.
Allgier was adamant that the three attempted murder charges against him were "absurd." He said he agreed to plead "no contest" to those charges and guilty to all other charges as soon as he was told this was the resolution Anderson's widow desired.
"When you wanted this case over, I didn't drag it out," he said. "Just because I've got tattoos on my face and I'm proud of my race, I'm not some violent monster."
Allgier — a white supremacist most recognized for the tattoos that cover nearly his entire body, including his eyelids — shot and killed Anderson June 25, 2007, after Anderson had escorted Allgier from the prison to University Hospital. Allgier said Wednesday that he went in for an MRI and Anderson didn't have the flexible handcuffs typically used in that setting and unshackled him completely.
"I never wanted to harm that guy," Allgier said. "I was just going to walk out the door. But for some reason, I decided to tell him I was going to walk out the door. I said, 'Your $15 an hour isn't worth it. You go home to your family, I'm going to go home to mine.'"
There was a struggle, he said, and Anderson's gun went off.
After shooting Anderson with the officer's own weapon, Allgier fled the hospital on foot and stole a vehicle before 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 at 1685 S. Redwood Road. There, Allgier pointed a gun at the head of an Arby's employee before a patron was able to wrest the gun from him.
"I've shed as much tears over this as everybody else," he told Anderson's family. "If you forgive me, that's good. And if you don't, I understand."
Later, the judge offered his own comments about Allgier's words, saying he didn't buy his explanations.
Maughan told the family they might not understand why the case took so long and said part of the reason is because the justice system is "weighed heavily in favor of defendants." He pointed out that Allgier pleaded guilty, despite his complaints about the charges Wednesday.
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