Three investigators were crying politics Wednesday after the Utah attorney general's office refused to return records, documents and other evidence they say could solve several homicides.

"I'm mad as hell about it," said Greg Chase, a former Salt Lake Police Department crime analyst. "Looks to me like it's just political. The Democrats are all lining up to protect each other."Chase, patrolman Frank Hatton-Ward and former Crime Analysis Unit director Jon Ilk are trying to get someone to investigate leads they say may help solve the homicides of up to five Utah women who were killed in 1985 and 1986.

After becoming dissatisfied with the police department's investigation of the slayings, the three approached the Salt Lake County sheriff's office and the county attorney's office. Neither of those agencies decided to investigate.

So Hatton-Ward, Chase and Ilk met with the attorney general's office, handing over most of their evidence: taped confessions, flow charts and police records and reports.

After failing to get a positive response from the attorney general's office, the trio took their case to the Utah Court of Appeals, where they have filed a petition asking the court to look into the matter.

The three have since been criticized by by Joe Tesch, assistant attorney general, for going public with their case.

On Wednesday, Chase and Ilk went to the attorney general's office to retrieve their evidence. But attorney general officials refused to release it to them.

Chase was told that the evidence won't be released until a determination is made in the court of appeals.

But Chase said he believes the attorney general's office, which is controlled by a Democrat, is trying to protect the county attorney's office and the sheriff's office, which are run by Democrats.

The attorney general's office did not return phone calls to the Deseret News by Thursday morning.