Woman who helped U shooter sentenced

By By Ana Breton and By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

A woman who helped an escaped convict who allegedly shot a corrections officer at the U’s Orthopaedic Clinic in Research Park will stay three more months in jail before she is released, according to a new court sentence released March 24.

Trisha Tower, 26, pled guilty to obstruction of justice, a state felony, in Third District Court in January. She allowed inmate Curtis Allgier to stay at her house between the time he escaped from the clinic after he allegedly shot 60-year-old corrections officer Stephen Anderson at the clinic and the time he was arrested at an Arby’s restaurant on Redwood Road, according to court documents.

Tower hid Allgier’s prison jumpsuit and helped him into a change of clothes after he escaped from the clinic and hijacked a car. Allgier, who was being held for a parole violation, was later stopped by customer Eric Fullerton at the Arby’s and was arrested by police after he put a gun to an employee’s head.

The state felony Tower was charged with could be punishable by a life term in prison. However, Judge Robin Reese sentenced Tower to a year in jail and credited the 270 days she had already served in prison. Tower will serve the remaining three months at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, where she has been since her arrest June 28, 2007. Bail for Tower is set at $100,000.

Allgier was arrested June 25 and booked into jail where he faces eight charges, including aggravated murder, disarming a police officer and aggravated escape from custody — all first-degree felonies. He is being held without bail, and prosecutors said he could face the death penalty. His trial date is still pending.

Details about the incident have been kept private.

The Utah Department of Corrections said it would not release a report detailing the fatal shooting that occurred during Allgier’s escape from the clinic. In an earlier interview, Tom Patterson, executive director at the Utah Department of Corrections, refused to comment about the Department of Public Safety report, which was supposed to be made public last August.

However, in response to the event, 18 new officers have been hired to escort inmates to routine medical visits. At least two or three officers are required to accompany inmates depending on how much of a “risk” the inmate is considered to be.

The University Hospital changed its policy, mandating that two officers escort inmates receiving treatment.

A new computer system will also allow officers to see which inmates are “at risk” more clearly. Additionally, guards will carry Tasers, and inmates must wear a new leg restraint that will cause them to hobble if they try to escape.

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