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Funding issues have put defense attorneys months behind schedule in the case of Curtis Allgier, whose capital murder trial is currently set for June.
Defense attorneys Richard Gale and Dusty Kawai said experts hired to evaluate the case have been unable to work since October because a judge had yet to approve funding for the defense. And while that issue was expected to be resolved Wednesday, attorneys asked 3rd District Judge Paul Maughan to delay the trial date.
Maughan declined to continue the trial, but said he could reconsider the issue at a hearing next month.
"We're ready to go ahead and we want to go ahead," Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Robert Stott said. "But we don't want to later on have a higher court find the defense was not effective" because of time issues.
The defense has contacted two psychological experts and a forensics expert. Gale said Utah Department of Corrections employees have declined to speak with Allgier's defense, but that an expert on correctional facilities could address issues related to mitigation.
Also on Wednesday, Maughan took a number of motions under advisement.
Among those motions is the defense's request for Allgier to receive additional food while at the Utah State Prison. Defense attorneys say Allgier has lost roughly 50 pounds since his incarceration. The defense hopes that bringing Allgier back to his original weight will convince a jury he was attempting to give up at a Salt Lake Arby's after a police chase, and that he could not have been forcibly disarmed by a customer, who is a "much smaller" man.
The customer, Eric Fullerton, is 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds. Allgier stood over 6 feet tall and weighing more than 230 pounds, his attorney said.
Allgier, 32, is charged with capital murder for allegedly killing 60-year-old Stephen Anderson on June 25, 2007. According to charges, Allgier shot Anderson with his own gun after the officer had unshackled him for an MRI scan at a Salt Lake City medical clinic.