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A prison inmate who was the first Utahn to be charged with murdering a fetus has abandoned a petition seeking a second chance to appeal his 1994 conviction.
Calvin Shane Myers withdrew his request Monday at a hearing in Park City's Silver Summit Court.
Myers gave no reason for the withdrawal, but assured 3rd District Court Judge Todd Shaughnessy that he had reached the decision voluntarily.
Defense attorney John Johnson also declined to comment on Myers' decision, telling The Tribune that doing so would violate the inmate's rights to attorney/client privilege.
Myers, now 41, pleaded guilty to a reduced count of aggravated murder in 1996, about two years after he killed a pregnant Irene Frances Christensen a week before Christmas 1994. As part of the plea agreement, Myers was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In a handwritten petition to the district court last year, Myers said his right to a direct appeal of his conviction had been denied as neither the courts nor his attorney had informed him of that right at the time he entered a plea.
Summit County prosecutors disagreed, saying Myers gave up his right to an appeal when he entered a plea agreement that reduced the number of charges he faced and guaranteed he would avoid the death penalty.
Shaughnessy granted Myers' petition in November 2014 and appointed Johnson to serve as his attorney.
Myers was originally charged with two counts of aggravated murder a capital offense because Christensen was 16 to 18 weeks pregnant.
The case was the first to challenge an 1991 amendment to Utah's criminal homicide law that extended legal protection to the unborn.
Snowmobilers found Christensen's snow-covered body about a week before Christmas 1994 near the shores of Rockport State Park reservoir. An autopsy found the 20-year-old woman had been stabbed or sliced open at least a dozen times and her head was nearly severed from her body, court papers and news accounts from 1994 and 1995 say.
A wallet left at the scene by a friend of Myers who had gone to the lake with the couple helped link the then-21-year-old construction worker to the killing.
In 1995, Myers' defense attorneys petitioned the court for a reduction of charges or a dismissal, arguing that an unborn fetus was not a "person" under the law and therefore could not serve as either an aggravated factor in the case, nor as grounds for an independent criminal count.
Myers entered into a plea agreement after the petition was denied.