A Utah prisoner who was about to go on trial for killing his cellmate is going to receive the sentence of life in prison instead of the death penalty.
Steven Crutcher, admitted to killing his cellmate in May of 2017 and was about to go on trial to have jurors decide whether or not he would receive the death penalty for the act.
The reason for the lesser sentence was because the Utah Department of Corrections withheld almost 1,600 pages of medical records from the case even after the judge ordered them to be turned over.
6th District Court, Judge Wallace Lee had this to say to the Salt Lake Tribune:
“I’m about as angry about this as I have been about anything in my career,” the judge told attorneys Wednesday. “I am beyond angry about this. I am angry with the Department of Corrections. This was totally wrong and makes me doubt the credibility of everything I hear about the Department of Corrections.”
Calling the department’s actions “sneaky” and “deceitful,” Lee went so far as saying he would write a letter to the governor asking for an investigation of the Department of Corrections.
“This is totally wrong,” the judge said. “That is something I would expect from Russia or North Korea, not a society like we have under the Constitution. It’s got to stop. I’ve worried that if it’s happened in this case, it’s happening in other cases out there.”
The missing medical records contained information on what type of medical treatment and medication Crutcher was receiving and according to his defense attorney, these documents were the heart of his client’s defense.
Crutcher was being charged with the death of his cellmate, Roland Cardona-Gueton. Cardona-Gueton’s death was initially ruled as a suicide, but Crutcher later confessed via letter that he was responsible for Cardona-Gueton’s death.
Crutcher’s confession letter was full of neo-Nazi slang and racist language and that white supremacy was the motivation for the murder.
When the judge asked Crutcher if he had anything to say during his sentencing, Crutcher’s reply was “Nope.”
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