For Immediate Release
|FORMAT FOR PRINTING
"WE WILL FIGHT TO KEEP HIM IN PRISON"
A.G.'S OFFICE WILL NOT SEEK DEATH PENALTY FOR TILLMAN
The Attorney General's Office announced today that it will not seek the death penalty again against Elroy Tillman, who was convicted of capital murder in 1983 for the killing of Mark Schoenfeld. However, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is vowing to do everything possible to make sure Tillman never leaves prison.
In 1982, Tillman crept into the victim's home and crushed his skull with an ax and set his bed on fire. The Utah Supreme Court reversed Tillman's death sentence, but kept his conviction intact.
Prosecutors consulted with the victim's family and others involved in the case before deciding against seeking another death sentence. The victim's family want finality and do not want to go through the ordeal of reliving the details of the crime in public court hearings. The fact that Tillman is now 70-years-old was also considered because he would likely die in prison during the lengthy appellate and post-appellate process before another death sentence could be carried out.
"We could go to court and a jury may again sentence Tillman to die but practically speaking it would gain nothing. This cold-blooded killer deserves the strongest punishment possible but the victims also deserve closure. We will fight to keep him in prison for the rest of his life," says Shurtleff.
Under the law, Tillman will be sentenced to life in prison, although it will be up to the Board of Pardons and Parole to decide whether he is ever released.
The Attorney General's Office will write letters, attend hearings and recommend to the Board of Pardons and Parole that Tillman never be released from prison, but be required to serve his natural life behind bars. This sentence would be consistent with how the Board has treated others who have been convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.