SALT LAKE CITY – A judge on Monday refused to sign an order directing Utah State Prison officials to increase the amount of food given to an inmate awaiting trial on a capital murder charge in the killing of a prison guard.
At a hearing, 3rd District Court Judge Paul Maughan said he would not direct operations at the Department of Corrections.
Instead, attorneys for Curtis Allgier must try and work out the nutritional issues with the department and its attorneys. An agreement could then be resubmitted to the court, Maughan said.
Allgier has lost about 50 pounds since he was taken into custody in June 2007, his attorney Dusty Kawai said. The attorney blames Allgier's weight loss on insufficient nutrition received while he was being held in Salt Lake County Jail.
Allgier wants to eat double portions at meals and be given a nutritional supplement so he can get back to about 250 pounds — the amount he weighed the day prison guard Stephen Anderson was shot and killed, and Allgier escaped custody.
Allgier has pleaded not guilty. A trial is set for June. If convicted, Allgier could face the death penalty.
Anderson, 60, a veteran corrections officer, was killed while escorting Allgier to a doctor's appointment at a University of Utah medical facility on June 26, 2007. Allgier had been unshackled before he took Anderson's gun and shot him in the head and chest, authorities said.
Allgier stole a car and fled before being captured within hours at a fast-food restaurant several miles away after being disarmed by a restaurant patron, authorities said.
Kawai said Allgier's weight is an issue because there are factual questions about whether a person of his size could have been disarmed by the patron who claims to have done so. Allgier contends he went to the restaurant with the intention of surrendering to police, Kawai said.
Prison officials say the current plan is to feed Allgier the same amount of food as other inmates, but that could be altered.
"As with any other offender, the inmate or his attorneys certainly could request to have him seen by medical staff so they could determine whether he is in need of any supplement to his typical daily diet," prison spokesman Steve Gehrke said.
Allgier bickered with Judge Maughan in court, saying he would fire his attorneys and represent himself if the judge failed to approve the food request.
Also Monday, Maughan approved a request from the defense to allow their psychological expert to examine Allgier later this month.