A man convicted of helping throw a dying man down a steep ravine in Big Cottonwood Canyon was ordered to prison Monday.
Jerry W. Dickey, 35, should serve all 15 years of his one-to-15-year sentence, said 3rd District Judge Tyrone E. Medley.Dickey was originally charged with first-degree murder in the "execution-style" shooting of Michael L. Bartlett, 19. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
Prosecutors said Dickey handed a .38-caliber revolver to another man, who then shot Bartlett in the head on the evening of Sept. 24, 1995. Dickey, the alleged triggerman and another accomplice then grabbed the hands and feet of the injured Bartlett and tossed him over a guardrail.
An angler found Bartlett's body a day later near a stream in the canyon.
"This was a senseless, unjustified murder, as far as the court is concerned. The people who did this clearly lack any respect for human life and dignity," the judge said.
Witnesses testified at a preliminary hearing earlier this year that Brandon G. Kourous, 22, shot Bartlett at the urging of Dickey, who was worried the man was "talking too much" about an upcoming drug deal.
Dickey maintained Monday that he didn't know of any plans to kill Bartlett. He said he arrived in Salt Lake City just 30 days before the incident and went into the canyon only "to make friends with people I didn't know."
He said his back was turned when he heard the gunshot that pierced Bartlett's skull.
"I am not the man these people make me out to be," Dickey said at his sentencing, referring to prosecutors. "I am sorry. I didn't kill (Bartlett) and I didn't plan it."
Salt Lake Deputy District Attorney Roger Blaylock responded that Dickey was a career criminal, noting he had several felony convictions dating to 1978.
The judge agreed, saying his observations of Dickey left him with the impression that he was not very credible.
"He impressed me as someone who is criminally sophisticated . . . . I think the prospects for his rehabilitation of very poor," Medley concluded.
He ordered Dickey to serve the one- to 15-year sentence consecutive to any other prison time he might be ordered to serve for violating his parole from a North Carolina court.
Kourous faces sentencing on a manslaughter charge Oct. 21. The other man who helped dispose of the body, Arrom Shoemaker, is also charged with a second-degree felony.