This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Ronnie Lee Gardner tried to escape on April 2, 1985, from the now-demolished courthouse at 250 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City. He had been brought there for a hearing on charges in the 1984 robbery and slaying of Melvyn John Otterstrom, who he shot once in the face at Cheers Tavern in Salt Lake City.
After a woman slipped Gardner a gun, a prison guard who was escorting the inmate shot him in the shoulder. Gardner fatally shot attorney Michael Burdell and wounded bailiff Nick Kirk before being captured on the courthouse lawn. He was convicted of aggravated capital murder for killing Burdell and sentenced to death.
Gardner also was charged with capital murder for killing Otterstrom, a husband and father who was a controller for the Utah Paper Box Co. by day and a part-time bartender in the evening. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea bargain and received a sentence of five years to life in prison.
Darcy Perry McCoy -- who testified under a grant of immunity in the Otterstrom case that she helped Gardner plan a robbery and waited for him in a car outside Cheers the night of the killing -- originally was accused of handing off the gun at the courthouse. But her sister, Carma Jolley Hainsworth, who was married to Gardner's cousin, ultimately was charged with the crime.
Hainsworth has stood by her story that McCoy gave the gun to Gardner but eventually pleaded guilty to aiding in an escape and was sentenced to one to 15 years in prison. She did admit collecting clothes that were found in a women's restroom at the courthouse inside a tote bag, along with duct tape and a knife -- items that Gardner said were part of his plan to bind the guards and escape.