Dale Allgier does not believe in the death penalty. But he still wants to see his son's killer pay for his crime.
"If this man wants to pay society for the crime he has done, if he wants to pay my family, he can do so by spending the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole," Allgier said during a sentencing hearing for Phillip Michael Leishman last week.Third District Judge Sandra Peuler, however, gave Leishman, 20, the sentence recommended by Adult Parole and Probation of two concurrent life sentences with the possibility of parole for the fatal shootings of Derek "Snyper" Shaw, 24, and Michael Allgier, 19. Leishman, 20, confessed he committed the slayings in retaliation for the theft and vandalism of a car belonging to Summer Johnson, 18.
"It's obvious that you have caused enormous grief to two families," Peuler said. "I hope that at least you will serve many, many years before (parole) is considered."
Deputy District Attorney Michael Christensen estimates Leishman will serve at least 38 years. Charged with two counts of capital murder, Leishman avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty as charged. In exchange, prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Johnson and Denny Duke Kandt, 21, both charged with two counts of murder, a first-degree felony, are scheduled for trial later this year. Both could be sentenced to spend life in prison if convicted.
According to preliminary hearing testimony, Johnson believed Shaw had stolen her Saturn and ripped out the radio. But witness Thomas Ferry said he knew the real car thieves and that Shaw was not involved.
On Jan. 19, 1997, Johnson drove Ferry, Leishman and Kandt to where Shaw lived in West Valley City. Johnson and Ferry waited in the car while Leishman went to the front of the apartments and Kandt covered the rear.
Not knowing which unit was Shaw's, Leishman asked Allgier, who had just arrived. Allgier said he was going to visit Shaw and told Leishman to come along.
When Allgier knocked on the apartment door, Shaw answered. Leishman quickly shot Allgier in the back of the head and fired two shots at Shaw, hitting him in the leg and head. Allgier died at the scene and Shaw died on the way to the hospital.
"My son died with his hands in his pocket," Dale Allgier said. "The only weapon he owned was a fishing knife that I gave him."
Leishman, who confessed to police after his arrest, expressed his remorse to the victims' families Tuesday.
"I wish I could tell these people how bad this makes me feel," Leishman said. "I wish I could take your boys back. I would take their place . . . but I can't do that."
Dale Allgier said he agreed to the plea bargain in part because he wishes to bring closure to the tragedy.
"I'm not an advocate of the death penalty," Allgier said. "Nobody has the right to the life of another."
However, "I don't believe (Leishman) should be out in the streets ever again," he said. "There is no justice. Only punishment for injustice."