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Police try to sort out stories in stabbing of Salt Lake attorney Steven Killpack

Published: Friday, Aug. 28 2015 12:09 a.m. MDT

In this photo released on July 6, 2012 by the Salt Lake City Sheriff's Department showing Matthew Wall, 28 who was arrested in the stabbing of criminal defense lawyer, Steven Killpack, 63. (AP Photo/Salt Lake City Sheriff's Department) In this photo released on July 6, 2012 by the Salt Lake City Sheriff's Department showing Matthew Wall, 28 who was arrested in the stabbing of criminal defense lawyer, Steven Killpack, 63. (AP Photo/Salt Lake City Sheriff's Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — As a prominent Utah defense attorney remained hospitalized Friday with multiple stab wounds, investigators continued to try and sort out what actually happened.

Steven Killpack, 63, was stabbed multiple times in the chest at his own house near 200 South and 1200 East Thursday. Police were unsure Friday if the attack happened inside or outside the house or if Killpack was stabbed at several places.

Matthew Christopher Wall, 28, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted murder. Wall told detectives that Killpack had invited him into his house and then got mad at him because he had "messed up his paintings." He claims he then got into a fight with Killpack and tried to defend himself when Killpack produced two knives.

On Friday, however, Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan emphasized that those were only the statements given by the suspect.

Steven Killpack, a University of Utah College of Law adjunct faculty member, was stabbed Thursday, July 5, 2012. (University of Utah) Steven Killpack, a University of Utah College of Law adjunct faculty member, was stabbed Thursday, July 5, 2012. (University of Utah)

"Those statements aren't necessarily what occurred," he said. "None of that is verified or confirmed."

Salt Lake police were not ready to say one way or the other Friday whether they believe Wall's statements or whether there was evidence that corroborates those comments. Investigators were not sure if the two men even knew each other.

McGowan said police had collected statements from several people in the neighborhood. As of Friday afternoon, they had yet to collect a statement from Killpack, he said.

Official charges against Wall would likely be considered Monday by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. McGowan said Wall, who has a history of burglary and theft, also has a burglary charge pending in this latest incident.

Wall claimed he was sleeping on Killpack's balcony and was invited into his home. Police said as of Friday, they could not verify how Wall entered Killpack's house or why.

After the stabbing, Wall was treated at the scene for minor scratches before being booked into jail, according to police. McGowan did not know Friday what caused the scratches.

Killpack stumbled to a neighbor's house after being stabbed, seeking help. The neighbor said he was so covered in blood that she didn't recognize him.

Killpack remained in fair condition Friday at University Hospital, according to a spokeswoman.

He headed the Federal Defenders Office for more than a decade before moving into private practice a year ago. Killpack was as also the elected Utah County attorney from 1986 to 1993. He has worked on several high profile cases during his career, including Brian David Mitchell, convicted of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, and Ron Lafferty.

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