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Man sentenced to prison for stabbing Salt Lake City attorney

Published September 20, 2013 9:21 pm

Courts • Judge says Steven Killpack is "lucky to be alive" after 2012 attack.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The man who stood before a judge Friday and silently accepted his prison sentence of up to 40 years looked little like the man who last year attacked a Salt Lake City defense attorney inside his home.

Matthew Christopher Wall, 29, was clean shaven, with short-cropped hair. He's been eating better. He's off drugs. He stood tall and steady. He bowed his head and offered the lawyer an apology.

"This is one of those things I wish I could take back, but in life, there's no rewind button," Wall said. "I promise I will do everything in my power to be a different person when I come out of prison than the person I was when I went in."

But Stephen B. Killpack, who was hospitalized with 20 stab wounds to the chest in the wake of Wall's attack, said he will never forget the man who attacked him that night more than a year ago.

He's got scars to remember him by.

Killpack, 64, whose hands shudder while he speaks, is still recovering from the attack. Third District Judge Katie Bernards-Goodman said he's lucky more damage wasn't done.

"You don't stab someone 20 times unless you want to kill them," she told Wall. "Mr. Killpack is more than lucky to be alive."

Wall was charged with felony counts of burglary, possession of a deadly weapon and attempted murder in connection with the July 2012 attack. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree felony counts of aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury and burglary.

On Friday, Bernards-Goodman sentenced Wall to two to 20 years in prison on each count and ordered them to run consecutively — resulting in a 4-to-40-year term.

According to charging documents, Killpack woke on the morning of July 5, 2012, to find a stranger in his home, removing pictures from his wall and disconnecting computer wires.

When Killpack asked the man who he was and what he was doing, the intruder identified himself and then jumped on Killpack, stabbing him in the stomach, neck and head.

Killpack managed to push the man away, escape his home and walk down the street. He knocked on a neighbor's door and then collapsed in a front yard two houses down.

"The crime scene, you can only describe as a bloody mess," prosecutor Stephen Nelson said. "Mr. Killpack has had to undergo numerous surgeries to bring him to where he is now."

Wall told police he was invited into Killpack's home, at the corner of 1200 East and 200 South, by a man unknown to him who had been sleeping on the balcony, according to a probable cause statement filed with the Salt Lake County jail.

Wall said "the old man" was mad at him because Wall had "messed with his pantings (sic)." A fight ensued, in which "the old man" tried to cut Wall's neck with a large knife and a small knife, the jail statement said.

Killpack declined to address the court Friday before Wall was sentenced. After the hearing, he said he felt justice had been done.

"I'm very happy with the outcome," he said. "I didn't feel his apology was quite heartfelt, but he'll have a long time to think about it in prison."


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