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Garry Blackmore says he was scared of Timmy Brent Olsen when the two met at a party in 1998.
Olsen was flirting with Blackmore's girlfriend, and Blackmore wanted him to stop. But Olsen had news for then-17-year-old Blackmore: He had attacked a young lady years earlier, and if Blackmore knew what was good for him, he'd quit asking Olsen to back off.
But Blackmore didn't take that information to investigators who were examining the disappearance of Kiplyn Davis, 15, last seen at Spanish Fork High School on May 2, 1995. He also lied to an FBI agent and a federal grand jury as a 22-year-old, when he was asked if he'd ever heard anyone confess to killing Kiplyn.
Blackmore, now 31, apologized in U.S. District Court on Monday for withholding information that could have spurred an investigation into Olsen's involvement into Kiplyn's alleged murder sooner.
"The stupidest thing I ever did was to lie," Blackmore told Judge Tena Campbell, who ordered Blackmore to 36 months of probation for perjury and making false statements in the case. Blackmore pleaded guilty to the federal charges in 2006 but wasn't sentenced until Monday.
Blackmore said he lied to investigators and the grand jury because he feared Olsen would retaliate against him for sharing what he knew about the case. He said he still is frightened that Olsen's friends may attack him for testifying against Olsen as court proceedings in both federal and state courts have unfolded against the man.
Blackmore's information about his encounter with Olsen at the 1998 party is new information that suggests Olsen has publicly admitted before to attacking and possibly killing Kiplyn. It's also a contrast to what Olsen said in a February state court hearing, where he admitted to being present at Kiplyn's slaying but said someone else did the crime.
After Kiplyn disappeared, rumors circulated that she was a victim of foul play and that some of her fellow classmates were involved. In particular, Olsen and David Rucker Leifson were targeted as suspects. The case drew intense public interest, and despite rumors about who was responsible for the teen's disappearance, the case went cold until 2005, when U.S. Attorney Paul Warner convened a federal grand jury in the case.
A federal investigation resulted in perjury charges against five people including Olsen and Leifson and eventually murder charges against Olsen and Christopher Neal Jeppson. Leifson, Scott Brunson and Blackmore pleaded guilty to perjury charges in federal court. Olsen and Jeppson were found guilty of perjury by a federal jury.
Jeppson eventually pleaded no contest to obstructing justice and signed a sworn statement that he knew nothing about what happened to Kiplyn.
In February, Olsen pleaded guilty to second-degree felony manslaughter and as part of the plea agreement will serve up to 15 years to run concurrently with the 150 months he has been serving for lying to investigators about the case. While he admitted to witnessing someone kill Kiplyn by striking her with a rock, Olsen will not name the killer because he fears for his safety in prison, his attorney said.
State prosecutors in February said they believed the killer is either Brunson, Leifson or Blackmore.
But Blackmore made it clear on Monday that he is not the killer, wasn't at the scene when Kiplyn died and now isn't withholding more information in the case. He didn't come into the case until three years after Kiplyn died, his attorney Julie George pointed out.
Kiplyn's father, Richard Davis, said he thinks Blackmore's sentence for his crimes is fair. Campbell had the option of sending Blackmore to prison for a range of 87 to 108 months. She chose to order the man to probation at the request of both prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Blackmore told the court that at the time he lied, he was addicted to methamphetamine and was an alcoholic. Since then, he is sober, married, expecting his fourth child with his wife and works as a plumber for a Magna company.
Davis said he's glad Blackmore will stay out of prison and be able to be a father to his children.
But, he noted, "It's pretty hard for a father not to have a child."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda said Blackmore has served his time for lying several years ago, including a 13-month stint in jail when he was detained in the case. He said Blackmore's cooperation with prosecutors led to successful perjury convictions for Olsen and Jeppson and, along with defense attorney George, said that society wouldn't benefit by Blackmore going to prison.
Kiplyn's family still does not know where the girl was buried. Davis said Monday he's hopeful they will still find her and carry out a proper burial.
"We're still working on avenues to find Kiplyn," he said.
Timeline of Kiplyn Davis case from 1995-2011
May 2, 1995 • Kiplyn Davis, 15, vanishes after leaving Spanish Fork High School after lunch. Police initially treat her as a runaway and decline an offer of help from the FBI. Her parents, Tamara and Richard, believe she would not willingly leave the area; they pass out fliers asking for help.
May 19, 1995 • Police hold a news conference and say they suspect foul play. Kiplyn's parents offer a reward for information about their daughter. At least three classmates of Kiplyn's Christopher Neal Jeppson, David Rucker Leifson and Timmy Brent Olsen are questioned, but the case isn't solved.
August 1995 • The FBI enters the case at the request of the Davises.
July 1, 1999 • The Davises hold a memorial and place a headstone for Kiplyn at the Spanish Fork Cemetery on what would have been her 20th birthday.
March 2003 • After learning a federal grand jury was probing the case of then-missing 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart of Salt Lake City, the Davises asked to meet with U.S. Attorney Paul Warner. He convenes a grand jury and revives the search for Kiplyn.
April 30, 2005 • Federal indictments begin. Jeppson, Leifson, Olsen and two others Scott Brunson and Garry Blackmore are indicted for perjury before a grand jury. All but Blackmore are former classmates of Kiplyn.
Summer 2005 • Police search Spanish Fork's neighboring canyons for signs of remains.
Dec. 15, 2005 • Brunson pleads guilty to one count of perjury and two counts of making false statements to authorities. He has not yet been sentenced.
January 2006 • Blackmore pleads guilty to one count each of perjury and making a false statement.
Jan. 19, 2006 • The Utah County Attorney's Office charges Olsen with first-degree felony murder.
July 19, 2006 • A federal jury convicts Olsen of 15 counts of perjury, and he is later sentenced to 12½ years in prison.
October 2006 • Olsen leads investigators into Spanish Fork Canyon to find Kiplyn's body, but the search is fruitless.
Sept. 7, 2007 • Federal jurors convict Jeppson of one count of perjury and three counts of making false statements, and he is later sentenced to five years in prison. In October, Jeppson is charged with first-degree murder in state court.
October 2007 • Investigators ask hunters and hikers to keep an eye out for Kiplyn's remains and pass out 250 fliers.
Oct. 29, 2007 • Leifson pleads guilty to one count of perjury and is later sentenced to four years in prison.
April and May 2008 • A fruitless six-week search is conducted in the area around Spanish Fork River Park in Spanish Fork Canyon by the FBI, Utah County Sheriff's Office and Spanish Fork police.
May 6, 2009 • Jeppson pleads no contest to obstruction of justice charges, and prosecutors drop his murder charge. He is later sentenced to five years in prison, to run concurrently with his federal sentence.
Feb. 11, 2011 • Olsen pleads guilty to manslaughter and is sentenced to 1 to 15 years in state prison, to run concurrently with his federal sentence.
April 4, 2011 • Blackmore is sentenced in federal court to 36 months of probation for perjury and making a false statement.
Players in the Kiplyn Davis case
Garry Blackmore • Blackmore was not a classmate of Kiplyn's. He lied to an FBI agent and a federal grand jury when he said he never heard anyone confess to killing Kiplyn. He later admitted in federal court that Olsen alluded to attacking a girl when he met Olsen at a 1998 party.
Timmy Brent Olsen • He has confessed to witnessing the slaying of his 15-year-old classmate in Spanish Fork Canyon more than a decade ago. Olsen claims another person struck the girl in the head with a rock, but won't say who. Prosecutors believe Kiplyn's killer is one of three men convicted of lying in connection with the case: David Rucker Leifson, Scott Brunson or Garry Blackmore. But charges against Kiplyn's killer may never come, and her body is still missing.
David Rucker Leifson • Leifson was in the Spanish Fork High School drama group with Kiplyn. He lied about confronting Timmy Brent Olsen, another group member, for implicating him in Kiplyn's disappearance.
Scott Brunson • Brunson was a classmate of Kiplyn's. He provided a false alibi for Olsen during the time of Kiplyn's disappearance, saying Olsen helped him to shingle a shed.