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Utah man gets up to life for murder at Salt Lake City party

Published September 3, 2013 2:37 pm

SLC man gets up to life in prison for fatally stabbing man at July 2012 party.
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On the day a judge sentenced Adam Karr to spend up to life in prison for murdering a 22-year-old man at a Capitol Hill house party, he wished he could go back in time.

He would go back, he said, to the 2012 party. He would go back to try to stop it from ever happening. He would go back and never touch the knife he used to stab Kaleb Yazzie to death.

"I wish I could take everything back so no one would have to suffer like they are now," said Karr, his voice wavering as he stood in blue jail scrubs, with his hands and feet shackled. "I wish that night had never happened. If I could turn back time, I would do it all differently."

It was the first time since Karr killed Yazzie on July 31, 2012, that he apologized for his actions.

Karr, 27, was convicted by a jury of first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony obstruction of justice for killing Yazzie, who died of multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest after attending a party at Karr's home.

On Tuesday, 3rd District Judge James Blanch sentenced Karr to 15 years to life on the murder count and one to 15 years on the obstruction count. The judge ordered the two terms to run simultaneously.

Karr's attorney, Richard Mauro, had asked the judge to impose a lesser sentence on the premise that Karr believed he was acting in defense of his home, himself and his brother.

But Blanch said he felt the sentence of 15 years to life was more appropriate as there was no evidence to show Yazzie had been violent or threatening — he wasn't armed, and, by some accounts, was too drunk to walk properly.

"Before Mr. Karr knew what kind of force would be necessary to defend his home, he picked up a knife and carried it upstairs behind his back," the judge said. "He saidhe wanted to shank someone. He was angry, he felt his home was being disrespected. ... Instead of calling for help, he hid his clothes, hid his weapons, hid himself."

It was a long time coming for the Yazzie family, who have sat through numerous days of court proceedings over the past year.

Yazzie's mother, Cynthia Lansing, and his oldest sister, Stephanna Lovell, addressed the court before Karr was sentenced.

They spoke of the Kaleb Yazzie they knew — a quiet, sensitive artist who loved his family and was nothing like the violent man Karr's attorney described during the June trial.

"No one put Adam Karr in this predicament, he put himself there," the mother said. "He did a horrible, senseless thing to another human being. He stabbed my son. He knew what could happen when he kept stabbing. Why didn't he walk away? Why didn't he just close the door? Because he wanted my son dead."

Lansing, whose voice stumbled and shook as she addressed the court, said later she was glad the case was finally over and her family could attempt to move on.

Lovell, who said her brother had "so much more life to live," said Karr's apology came as a surprise.

"It sure doesn't make it all better," she said. "But, I guess, it was good to hear. And it was good to see him finally get what he deserves."

Adam Karr's brother, Ammon Karr, 22, who was also charged in the case, pleaded guilty to an obstruction of justice charge in a plea deal with prosecutors that spared him any prison time in lieu of jail, house arrest and three years probation. He did not attend Tuesday's sentencing.


Twitter: @Marissa_Jae —

Brother avoided prison time in case

Adam Karr's brother, Ammon Karr, 22, who was also charged in the case, pleaded guilty to an obstruction of justice charge in a plea deal with prosecutors that spared him any prison time in lieu of jail, house arrest and three years of probation. He did not attend Tuesday's sentencing.






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