Father of Murdered Counselor Speaks

Father of Murdered Counselor Speaks

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CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) -- The father of a counselor killed a year ago in a southern Utah group home says nothing has changed to prevent murders in such facilities.

Perry Arnett's son, 30-year-old Anson, was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat by two students he worked with at Maximum Life Skills Academy on March 9, 2004.

In the past year, Perry Arnett and his family have advocated for tighter restrictions on group homes, but most laws regulating group homes have not changed.

"If Anson's death could have brought about something positive, if I as a father could say to other fathers that 'I am not happy he died, but because of his death your child won't die,' that would be something," Perry Arnett said. "But I can't say that."

One new law was passed during the recent legislative session that sets new licensing requirements and regulations for programs and facilities.

Two boys, who were both 17 when they allegedly killed Anson Arnett, are still in jail.

Sean Graham of Rockville, Md., is awaiting trial for first-degree murder.

Graham's capital murder charge was reduced by a judge to a lesser first-degree felony murder charge, but Iron County prosecutors have appealed the ruling to the Utah Supreme Court.

Co-defendant Jesse Simmons of Wilmington, Del., pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder in December and is awaiting sentencing. He faces five years to life.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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