WEST JORDAN The sentencing of a man convicted of killing his girlfriend after she refused to have sex with him was delayed this morning.
Instead, 3rd District Judge Royal Hansen ordered Parley Jeffs Dutson, 19, be sent to the Utah State Prison for a 60-day diagnostic evaluation to help determine how he should be sentenced.
Dutson was convicted in July of first-degree felony murder and aggravated sexual assault in the April 2007 death of Kara Hopkins.
Dutson is a "Lost Boy," or a person who grew up in the Fundamentalist LDS Church community in Colorado City, Ariz., Colorado City who either left or was kicked out of the community.
Members of Hopkins' family attended the hearing, expecting a sentence to be delivered so they could finally walk out of the courtroom with some closure.
"It's really frustrating and upsetting," said Heidi Neilson, a relative. "They want to keep prolonging it, and it makes it harder and harder. I'm afraid he's going to get off or get seven years."
Dutson's murder charge carries a potential 15 years to life in prison. The aggravated sexual assault conviction could get a sentence of either 6, 10 or 15-years-to-life.
Dutson and Hopkins had been dating for a couple of years, according to family members. On the night of April 7, 2007, Dutson, who was having a party at his apartment and had been doing drugs, became angry when Hopkins refused his sexual advances. He shot her in the back of the head. When police arrived, they found Dutson in his underwear chanting and kneeling next to Hopkins, who had most of her clothes ripped off.
Family members say they are hoping the judge gives Dutson the harshest penalty possible when he returns to court for sentencing Oct. 24.
"If he's sentenced the way I want him to be sentenced, there will be justice. I want him to go away for life. I believe in an eye for an eye eye-for-an-eye," Neilson said.
Jenny Dutson, who is married to Parley Dutson's cousin, left the FLDS community as well in 2002. She attended today's hearing.
"I am completely heartbroken for the family. I have such sympathy for the family and compassion," she said.
But she also said noted the Parley Dutson who committed the murder was not the same boy from a couple of years ago. Jenny Dutson said noted she is not making excuses for what he did, stressing she doesn't believe attributing his actions solely to the drugs or being a "Lost Boy" is right. However, she did say that what he did that night was completely out of character.
E-mail: [email protected]