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2 alleged killers to testify in murder-for-hire trial

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Two men charged in the alleged murder-for-hire slaying of Jill Allen will testify against her husband, Paul Allen, as part of a plea bargain that will produce reduced charges for the two men.

George Anthony Taylor, 29, was expected to plead guilty Tuesday in 2nd District Court under a plea agreement arranged with Davis County prosecutors. He originally was charged with capital murder and faced a possible death sentence if found guilty.Taylor was to appear before Judge Jon M. Memmott Tuesday to answer to one count of murder, a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Taylor previously testified that he killed Jill Allen, 24, who was found beaten and strangled in her North Salt Lake apartment on Aug. 28, 1996.

Prosecutors contend that Paul Allen arranged the murder to collect on his wife's $250,000 life insurance policy. Paul Allen, 29, pleaded not guilty in February to charges that he hired the two men to commit the murder so he could profit from it. Allen, who is being held in the Davis County Jail without bail, has a trail date set for Jan. 11, 1999.

Joseph Serious Wright was expected to plead guilty Tuesday afternoon before Judge Rodney S. Page to two third-degree felony charges of criminal solicitation and conspiracy to commit murder.

Wright, 26, was the alleged middleman who earlier testified that Allen approached him with the idea of killing Jill Allen.

Prosecutor Bill McGuire said that allowing plea bargains so early in a complex case is not typical. Plea bargains generally are finalized after witnesses have testified in trials.

"You've got an unusual situation here because it's several months before the trial (of Paul Allen) can go . . .," McGuire said.