The families of two women murdered by a pair of convicts who walked away from a Salt Lake halfway house have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections for failing to protect them from the men.
The relatives of Beth Harmon Tidwell Potts and Kaye Tidwell Tiede accused corrections officials of not acting quickly to bring the women's murderers back into custody after the two men escaped from the Orange Street Community Center halfway house Dec. 14, 1990."Whether or not the suit is successful, it will make the Department of Corrections sit up and realize their number one job is to protect the public," said a family member who asked not to be identified. "They sometimes forget that. It's the criminals that get all of the concern."
Von Taylor and Edward Deli were at large for over a week when they broke into the Tiede cabin, waited for the family to return, shot and killed Potts and Tiede, attempted to kill Tiede's husband and took the couple's two daughters hostage.
Corrections officials knew or should have known that Taylor and Deli were in the Oakley area because Taylor's family has a cabin there, according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court on Friday.
Officials also knew Taylor had weapons while in the halfway house, in violation of house rules.
The day before the Dec. 22, 1990, killing, Taylor called another halfway house and left a message for Scott Manley, a friend incarcerated there. The morning of the killing, Taylor reached Manley by phone, told him where he was and of his plans to kill the Tiede family.
Although Manley related the conversation to state officials, "no one responded to this information," according to the suit.
"As a result of the failure of the state, its agencies, representatives and employees to attempt to protect these people . . . Von Taylor and Edward Deli killed Kaye Tiede and Beth Potts and gravely wounded Rolf Tiede," the suit says.
Corrections officials were "negligent and careless" in their failure to protect the Tiedes and other Oakley residents as well as their failure to recapture Taylor and Deli, the suit said.
The two men broke into the Tiede cabin the night before the murders. They spent the night opening Christmas presents and videotaping themselves laughing and telling jokes.
Three family members returned to the cabin around 3:30 p.m. the afternoon of the murder. They were confronted at gunpoint by Taylor and Deli.
The two men shot and killed Tiede, 49, and Potts, 76, less than three minutes after the women returned to the cabin.
The two tied up and gagged Tiede's daughter, Linae, shot and robbed Rolf Tiede and poured gasoline over what they thought was his dead body. The men then kidnapped Linae and her sister, Patricia.
Police took the men into custody later that day following a high speed chase near Kamas.
Taylor pleaded guilty to the two murders and has been sentenced to die. Deli has been sentenced to life in prison.