Following is a statement released Wednesday from the family of slain corrections officer Stephen Anderson on the news that Curtis Allgier pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing Anderson in 2007, after the officer escorted Allgier to University Hospital. In pleading guilty, Allgier, 33, avoids the death penalty. He is expected to be sentenced to life without parole on Dec. 5.
"Today our thoughts are focused on a great husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Stephen Anderson's influence and example are missed every day by his family and those who knew him, and these memories will never be lost. Stephen was a kind and generous man who served his family, his church, and his community with kindness, dedication, and honor.
"This has been a trying time for everyone who knew Stephen. This senseless act of violence is a constant reminder that we live in a less than perfect world with less than perfect people.
"Throughout the legal process and during the past five plus years, our family has been kept apprised of any developments pertinent to the case. We have met with the Salt Lake County District Attorney's office a number of times and have felt that our concerns and questions have been met with courtesy and appropriate responses. A number of weeks ago, Stephen's immediate family were invited into a meeting with the District Attorney and prosecutors. We were told what a trial would entail and the three possibilities of penalty if the accused was found guilty. One of those possibilities was a sentence of life in prison. The question at that time from the family was that if a plea were to be offered, would the accused ever be eligible for parole? The assurance was given that no plea would be accepted if that assurance could not be guaranteed. While the ultimate decision of accepting a plea or taking the case to trial was that of the District Attorney's office, our family was given the opportunity to have our voices heard.
"The Anderson family's acceptance of a plea in this case is in no way a reflection of any concern or trepidation that our family has regarding the case or its merits, or that the accused would ultimately be found guilty of Stephen's murder. Nor is this acceptance a reflection of the personal beliefs of the family regarding capital punishment. We believe that the preponderance of evidence in a trial would clearly result in a conviction. At the same time, we stand unified in accepting the decision of the court today, knowing that the accused can never hurt another innocent person again."