The Utah Board of Pardons has set a 1996 release date for Jonas Daniel Paul Sutton, who stabbed a 16-year-old girl 29 times in what law enforcement officials have called one of the most vicious crimes in Carbon County history.
The board on Friday told Sutton he will be paroled from prison Jan. 23, 1996, after a total of 12 years in prison.Sutton, 24, told the parole board he was tormented by "terrible dreams" from his own childhood and memories of his ex-wife when he killed Carbon High School student Betty Kellum.
As a child, Sutton was physically and sexually abused.
Prior to the murder of the teenage girl, Sutton had become enraged with his ex-wife, "choked her to unconsciousness and left her for dead," parole board members said.
"At the time of the crime (of the girl), I viewed my victim as not real, or even alive. I was angry at memories," Sutton said, speaking in a calm and direct voice.
Sutton, 19 at the time, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. For the past two years he has been at the state hospital, where he made "excellent progress," board members said.
"It's apparent you've made significant progress, but we must balance that progress with just deserts," said board member Gary Webster, adding that 12 years in prison was as "low as we can go."
Last year, Sutton married a former nurse from the hospital and they plan to raise a family when he is released, he said.
"I can be a valued husband," he said. "I love my wife very much and she loves and cares for me.
"I've tried very hard to change myself and the way I think. All I ask is a chance," he said. "I'm very sorry and ashamed of myself. It's not such a great thing to take someone's life. There's not a day that I don't think about it."