The Utah Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the second-degree murder conviction of a Salt Lake County man sentenced to life in prison for stabbing a woman more than 100 times with a butcher knife.
Fred W. Standiford appealed his 1984 conviction, claiming he was denied a fair trial due to improper jury instructions. Standiford also claims prosecutors presented insufficient evidence to support a second-degree homicide conviction.The defendant confessed to killing Hisae Wood on April 27, 1984, several hours after she had sold him cocaine at her home. But Standiford told police he acted in self-defense after the woman threatened him with a handgun.
After the stabbing, Standiford told officers he removed both the kitchen knife and handgun. The firearm was never found.
In his opinion for the court, Justice I. Daniel Stewart said 3rd District Judge James Sawaya's jury instructions could have been more precise but they "were not essentially wrong and we do not believe the jury was misled.
"In any event, 107 stab wounds is sufficient evidence that defendant created a highly likely probability of death," Stewart said. "Any error in instructions was harmless."