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A man who pleaded guilty to holding a hostage at knifepoint inside the FBI's Salt Lake City offices and demanded help proving his ex-wife's alleged murder, will not go to prison for his crime.
On Monday, Robert Joseph Hibbard, 43, was sentenced to three years of probation by 3rd District Judge Robin Reese.
The punishment is part of a deal negotiated with Salt Lake County prosecutors.
Hibbard pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a reduced charge of second-degree felony kidnapping in August for the 2012 incident. The plea followed a mental health evaluation of Hibbard at the Utah State Hospital, where physicians found he was competent to stand trial.
At a hearing last month, defense attorney David Mack said Hibbard is expected to leave Salt Lake City and return to his parents' home in Panguitch, where he should have greater stability.
Maintaining a stable residence is one of the many conditions of Hibbard's probation. He is also prohibited from having firearms, entering the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building or having contact with the victim.
On Sept. 18, 2012, Hibbard went to the sixth floor of the downtown office building then occupied by the FBI, where he grabbed a 61-year-old man, held a knife to his back and declared, "This is a hostage situation."
Hibbard said he needed help from an FBI forensic psychiatrist, and then forced the man into the elevator and pushed the button for the federal agency's office on the 12th floor.
When the elevator doors opened, Hibbard loosened his grip on his victim and handed the man the knife, before being taken into custody by an FBI agent.
Prosecutors said Hibbard action's were driven by his belief that his former wife's new husband should have been charged with murder in connection with her death in September 2011.
Rashell Langford, 33, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after ingesting a concoction of artificial drugs known as "bath salts" and drinking alcohol.
Her husband, Shawn Robert Langford, whom prosecutors said had backed out of a suicide pact with his wife, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
In the weeks leading up to the hostage episode, Hibbard had accused the new husband of murdering his ex-wife in conversations with both The Salt Lake Tribune and county prosecutor Sim Gill, and indicated to The Tribune that he believed Shawn Langford should have been charged with murder and that he planned on talking with the FBI.
Hibbard has a criminal history that includes a 1991 conviction on misdemeanor charges of drug possession, retail theft, assault and forcible sexual abuse. As recently as 2010, he was on supervised probation following convictions on charges of sexual battery and attempted theft by receiving stolen property stemming from incidents that occurred out of state.