Utah State Prison
Joshua Jay Harding

UTAH STATE PRISON — A pair of inmates at the Utah State Prison serving time for separate killings will be released on the same day.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole has granted parole dates for Jerry Lee Robertson, 53, and Joshua Jay Harding, 35. Both be released from prison on June 4.

Robertson has served more than 20 years for killing Gerald Thomas, 56, with a claw hammer in 1991. He was initially found incompetent to stand trial and sent to the Utah State Hospital. But it was later determined that he was faking his mental illness for two years at the hospital. In 1994, Robertson was sentenced to five years to life for murder and one to 15 years for theft.

During a parole hearing in October, Robertson apologized for his actions.

"I didn't mean to kill the man," he said. "I lost control."

Robertson will be sent to a halfway house when he is released and could be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor, according to the Board of Pardons. The board also ordered him to complete Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and pay more than $58,000 in restitution.

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Harding has been in prison since pleading no contest in 2015 to negligent homicide for the 2012 death of 3-month-old Paxton Stokes. Harding, who was not the boy's father, was alone with Paxton and watching him when the boy died. He has maintained his innocence from the beginning, but said he took a plea deal rather than risk being convicted of murder and sentenced to prison for 25 years.

At his parole hearing in December, it was noted that Harding's risk assessment was determined to be "low" in every category the board keeps track of, and he had had no write-ups since being incarcerated.