One of two men who led law-enforcement officers on a 30-hour manhunt in September after escaping from the Utah State Prison pleaded guilty Friday in 4th District Court to two charges related to the escape.
Richard Don George, 38, Avalon, Calif., pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, also a third-degree felony. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a third-degree felony charge of attempted manslaughter, reduced the burglary charge from a second-degree felony to a third-degree felony and dropped a first-degree felony charge of being a habitual criminal.Instead of referring the case to Adult Probation and Parole, Judge Boyd L. Park sentenced George to two terms of not less than five years in prison. The sentences will run concurrently with the life sentence that George is now serving.
Defense attorney John Mussleman asked for the immediate sentencing because George is already incarcerated. He requested that the sentences run concurrently because George will be in prison for many years.
"We anticipate that he will serve at least another 20 years from today's date," Mussleman said.
Mussleman asked Park to let the parole board decide George's release date. Prior to his escape, George had a parole hearing scheduled for October 2004. That hearing has since been revoked.
George and Gerald Paul Brown, Lehi, escaped from the prison's medium-security unit on Sept. 5 by hiding in a prison maintenance truck. After the truck was outside the prison yard, George and Brown stole the vehicle and fled to American Fork Canyon.
More than 100 law enforcement agents searched for the two suspects for more than a day in the mountains between American Fork and Provo canyons. The two were captured near the Mount Timpanogos campground about three miles above the Sundance ski resort. While free, George and Brown broke into a cabin and Brown fired two shots at a campground guard. George allegedly had a knife at the time of his arrest.
George was convicted of burglary in April 1975. After being paroled, he was later convicted of and imprisoned for several burglary and robbery charges and being a habitual criminal.
Brown committed suicide a week after his capture by hanging himself in his prison cell.