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Murder-for-hire case to be tried in '99

Paul Allen, accused of the murder-for-hire killing of his wife to collect life insurance money, has waived his right to a speedy trial and won't face a jury until January 1999.

Ron Yengich, Allen's attorney, asked 2nd District Judge Glen Dawson for a Jan. 11 trial date, which Dawson granted."This case was investigated for about a year prior to the filing of charges," Yengich said.

"We figure we need that much time" in order to adequately prepare for the trial, Yengich said. The trail would include a guilt or innocence phase and potentially a death penalty phase if Allen is convicted of the beating and strangulation death of Jill Allen on Aug. 28, 1996.

Both Carvel Hardward and Bill McGuire of the Davis County attorney's office agreed to the trial date during a Friday scheduling conference that also set dates for a variety of motions, hearings and status conferences with the judge.

Both sides said they expect the trial to last between three and three and a half weeks.

Additionally, Yengich said he plans to seek bail for Allen, who has been held in the Davis County Jail since his arrest last year.

McGuire later said he would oppose bail. McGuire also said that there have been no negotiations regarding any sort of plea bargain, and he expects the matter will go to trial.

In court, Yengich also said he plans to file motions concerning the death penalty, and that he may ask for a change of venue.

Allen earlier this month pleaded not guilty to charges that he offered Joseph Sergious Wright $30,000 to find someone to murder his wife. According to testimony at Allen's preliminary hearing, Wright said he would pay George Anthony Taylor $10,000 to kill Jill Allen.

Taylor testified that he beat Jill Allen with a baseball bat and strangled her with a belt.

Prosecutors contend that Allen wanted $250,000 from a life insurance policy he had on his wife.

In court Friday, Allen re-entered his pleas of not guilty to all charges because prosecutors had filed amended complaints. Prosecutors said there were no new charges, but they had amended the dates of the alleged conspiracy and solicitation charges.

The original complaint alleged that Allen began plotting his wife's murder in the spring of 1996. But prosecutors said that because of testimony at Allen's preliminary hearing, they now think Allen began planning the killing as early as the fall of 1995.