Millard County will pay a public defender $17,000 plus expenses to represent Lance Conway Wood in his appeal of a first-degree murder conviction.

Salt Lake attorney Fred Metos will represent Wood. The selection was approved by the Millard County Commission through a bid process, according to Millard County Attorney Warren Petersen. Three qualified criminal appellate attorneys were asked to submit bids.Metos represented George Wesley Hamilton, who was convicted in October 1989 of second-degree murder in a grisly slaying. Some body parts of the female victim were severed from the torso.

Wood, of Salem, Utah County, and a companion, Michael Anthony Archuleta, Bountiful, were convicted of first degree murder in the 1988 brutal slaying of Gordon Ray Church of Delta, a student at Southern Utah State College who was en route home. The mutilated body was found near Cove Fort. They were on parole from the Utah State Prison when the crime was committed.

The men were convicted in separate trials in 4th District Court in Provo. Archuleta was sentenced to death and Wood was sentenced to life in prison.

Peterson said Wood's appeal has been filed and the trial transcript is being prepared for attorneys to use in filing briefs before the Utah Supreme Court. A date for the hearing hasn't been set.