Utah cop killer granted parole

Brian Stack will be released in early 2020

Police1 Staff

DRAPER, Utah — The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole voted to grant parole to a man who spent more than 40 years in prison for shooting and killing a Utah Highway Patrol trooper, The Deseret News reports

Brian Keith Stack was 18 years old when, in 1978, he was pulled over by UHP trooper Ray Pierson for a minor traffic violation, according to The Deseret News. Pierson, 29, was shot without warning as he approached the vehicle. Stack was later arrested after he hit a police car parked as part of a blockade.  

Stack pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors not seeking the death penalty, according to the report. At the time of his sentencing, Utah judges did not have the option to sentence someone to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

However, the judge did cross out the word “indeterminate” on Stack’s sentencing order, leading Pierson’s family to believe Stack should spend the rest of his life in prison. The family has argued against Stack’s release at parole hearings, saying he won’t be able to readjust to a world that has changed drastically in the past 40 years. 

According to the publication, the UBPP noted during a February hearing that Stack was a model inmate at times, but had committed several violations during his years of imprisonment, including making and selling alcohol from his cell. 

Stack will be released on February 17, 2020. 

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