SALT LAKE CITY — After more than five and a half years of court hearings and delays, the case against Curtis Allgier wrapped up Wednesday when he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The sentence was almost a foregone conclusion, as it had been part of the plea agreement Allgier accepted when he pleaded guilty to aggravated murder on Oct. 3. The plea deal removed the possibility of the death penalty and required Allgier to plead guilty to all of the charges leveled against him stemming from the escape that resulted in the murder of corrections officer Stephen Anderson, 60.
The judge ordered consecutive prison sentences for each of Allgier's eight charges.
Allgier told 3rd District Judge Paul Maughan he pleaded guilty to the "absurd" charges against him because he knew Anderson's family wanted the process to end.
At times he was in tears as he addressed the judge and Anderson's family .
"I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I didn't want to hurt anybody. It was an accident," he said.
At other times, he cursed, ranted against his attorneys and the court system and disputed some of the evidence against him.
Allgier shot and killed Anderson June 25, 2007, after Anderson had escorted Allgier from the prison to University Hospital. After shooting Anderson with the officer's own weapon, Allgier fled the hospital on foot and stole a vehicle before leading police on a high-speed chase on I-80, I-15 and I-215 at speeds exceeding 100 mph.
When the vehicle's tires were spiked, Allgier continued to flee on foot, eventually running into an Arby's restaurant at 1685 S. Redwood Road. There, Allgier pointed a gun at the head of an Arby's employee before a patron was able to wrest the gun from him.
I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I didn't want to hurt anybody. It was an accident.
The man, a white supremacist, is most recognized for the tattoos that cover nearly his entire body, including his eyelids.
In a recorded statement released after entering his plea, Allgier denied that the incident was anything more than an accident. He said he pleaded guilty out of respect for Anderson's family.
Anderson's children told the judge their father was impossible to replace, kind generous and beloved to many. They also said they were glad to see the trial's conclusion.
"I feel very at peace with this case and am not holding grudges against him at all," said Anderson's son, Shawn Anderson. "I'm just grateful to move forward without having to continue to look toward a future trial."
Anderson's son, Sherrie Hardy,said she felt good about the verdict.
"I feel really good about it," she said. "I thought it went really well, and we've been wanting that closure for a long time."
I feel very at peace with this case and am not holding grudges against him at all.
Salt Lake City District Attorney Sim Gill said Allgier will "never be allowed to walk out, ever again."
"He's going to spend the rest of his natural life in prison, and that's where he's going to die and be responsible for the crime he committed," Gill said.
The case took a number of turns and stalled at times amid issues with the man's attorneys and attempts at disqualifying the judge, some of which included appeals to the Utah Supreme Court. Allgier's attorneys also filed a number of motions that had to be discussed, which ranged from whether the man's myriad tattoos should be covered at trial to his diet at the jail.
The plea agreement came as a surprise, but Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the decision to offer it came following discussions with Anderson's family. Anderson family spokesman Mark Anderson, Stephen Anderson's cousin, said the family never asked for a specific sentence, just that justice be served.
Contributing: John Daley