Thursday, December 6, 2012

Heart of Darkness

Curtis Allgier always has something to say, even when it's not his turn to talk.  As a lawyer with the Salt Lake District attorney's office argues some arcane rule of law in front of Judge Paul Maughan,  Allgier shows his disgust, leans in heavy to his own attorney, and frantically and angrily grumbles his disapproval.  Allgier seems to be at odds with even the most mundane details that leaves the judges mouth, or formulates in the mind of the District Attorney.
Curtis Allgier

As I sit in court I can tell Allgier's attorney is exasperated, every couple of minutes, the tattooed white supremacist  is peppering his left ear with angry, yet muffled proclamations.  The attorney seldom acknowledged his agitating client, as he tries to listens intently to the words of the judge.

Allgier murdered Utah State Corrections officer Stephen Anderson, when the prisoner was being escorted from his cell to the University of Utah Medical Center for an MRI in 2007.  Anderson, who had a reputation as a compassionate guard, who showed kindness to even the most despicable of criminals, was shot twice by Allgier after a brief struggle between the two.

You have likely seen Allgier on television.  His face is littered with prison tattoos, crude graffiti  carved into his skin proclaiming his admiration for Hitler, Nazi's and skin heads.  Every inch of his face is covered with grey ink, likely pumped into his face by himself or an equally "tatted" fellow prisoner.  As I look at him spewing silently into his lawyers brain, it's difficult to even recognize a human underneath  the angry scrawling  the boorish scratches, and vulgar proclamations.

I try to imagine Allgier as a little, toe-headed boy, skipping rocks across a pond, giggling in the school yard with he fellow kindergartners  or snuggling under his mother's arm after a scary nightmare, but I just can't conjure the idea.  To me, Allgier seems as if he just manifested on earth, as a hulking ball of rage, born in orange prison jump suit, and talking, always talking.
Stephen Anderson

He has been talking for the five and a half years since he killed Anderson.  Phoning reporters to do interviews, blurting out invectives to the judge in court, and finally, on the day of his sentencing, he has his grand stage, something he has been seeking since he was jailed after pulling the trigger and killing the father of five.

He talks for 35 excruciating minutes, at times he is tearful and apologetic, at others he is defiant and angry and often punctuates his speech with "s#!+ and "F*(# while the judge patiently allows hims to rant.

I get the sense that he has this grand idea of himself, as if he believes he lives by a special code of honor that the rest of us puny mortals can't even comprehend.  He talks about how he takes care of younger prisoners behind bars, giving advice to the "weak" ones.  He gnaws and snarls about his treatment in jail by guards, then chokes up with tears as he laments over how "great" a man he believes the now deceased Anderson is.

Allgier once wrote me a letter after a story I did about a woman he scammed into putting hundreds of dollars into his prison bank account.  The diatribe was scribbled in black ink on ruled paper, in the hand of a boy.  He punctuated his "S's" with lightening bolts often seen on the collars of officers in  the Nazi Shutzstaffel.  I could see he would go to great lengths to use words that ended in two "S's" for the ultimate affect.
Neo-Nazi Symbol

His long form complaint goes on for pages, and is filled with narcissistic rants about, his "honor," and his "strength."  He even claims his affiliation with the skin heads, isn't about racial hatred but pride in his own heritage, "I have friends of all races," he says.

As he waxes about Anderson, claiming he didn't want "that guy," to die, the judge finally tries to reign in the bluster, and with 10 armed guards surrounding him, the judge in a bureaucratic monotone that is a stark contrast to Allgier's bombast, calmly tells the murderer he will die in jail, Allgier sits, for the first time all afternoon in silence, as the judge has the final word, telling the loud man to be quiet and go to jail forever.

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