A man who planted a bomb that killed an 11-year-old boy seven years ago has pleaded guilty to the murder for the second time.
Monday, Steven Douglas Thurman pleaded guilty to murder, a first-degree felony, for the 1991 pipe-bomb death of Adam Cook, 11. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped charges of delivering an incendiary device, a second-degree felony, and improper delivery of an incendiary device, a third-degree felony.This latest development has brought Thurman full circle in a lengthy court battle that took him to the Utah Supreme Court.
Thurman was charged following a May 15, 1991, explosion of a homemade nail-studded pipe bomb planted in the back seat of a vehicle belonging to Adam Cook's father, Howard Cook, who was having an ongoing relationship with Thurman's ex-wife.
To avoid the death penalty, Thurman pleaded guilty to aggravated murder on the eve of his scheduled trial two years after Cook's death. He was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
But within a month, he withdrew his guilty plea saying his attorneys had pressured him into pleading guilty without enough time to think his decision through completely.
The Utah Supreme Court eventually granted Thurman a new trial date in 1996. But then he argued that his potential punishment should remain limited by the terms of the deal.
Third District Judge William Thorne sided with Thurman, refusing Salt Lake County prosecutors' request to pursue the death penalty citing a recent Utah Court of Appeals case that ruled in favor of another man who had also reneged on a plea-bargain agreement.
Monday, Thorne ordered a pre-sentence investigation and transferred Thurman from the Utah State Prison to the Salt Lake County Jail. During Thurman's sentencing hearing, scheduled for Sept. 21, Thorne could order Thurman to spend life in prison.