Courts • In plea deal, co-defendants agree to testify against accused killer.
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In the moments before a 25-year-old Sandy man was stabbed to death, Ryan Curtz and Austin Taylor threw punches, pushed and shoved.
It was a fist fight, Salt Lake County prosecutors said, and neither Curtz nor Taylor had any reason to believe it would end with the death of Michael Workman.
They didn't know their friend Talon Hamann, 18, was carrying a knife, which he allegedly used to stab Workman multiple times as he leaped into the fray, prosecutors and defense attorneys said.
Curtz, 18, and Taylor, 21, pleaded guilty Monday to obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, and assault, a class A misdemeanor. As part of a plea deal, the pair agreed to testify against Hamann, who is charged with first-degree murder, obstruction of justice and tampering with a witness.
"These two should be treated more like people who witnessed this crime, than participants in a homicide," said prosecutor Paul Parker on Tuesday.
Third District Court Judge Ann Boyden agreed, sentencing Curtz and Taylor to 41 days in jail, which the men have already served, three years of probation and 150 hours of community service.
Boyden's decision largely hinged on the fact that neither of the men had substantial criminal histories and both appeared genuinely remorseful, Parker said.
The terms of the men's probation are strict: both men must undergo counseling, submit to drug and alcohol testing, obtain full-time employment, earn a GED or high school diploma and stay away from the victim's family and any others involved in this case.
"I am very sorry for my involvement in this crime," Curtz said in a written statement to the court. "The situation has made me realize the opportunities and support that I have taken for granted and has made me [realize] I need to change my life for the better."
A preliminary hearing for Hamann is scheduled on Feb. 8.