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Guilty plea expected today in deputy's shooting death

An Escalante man involved in a January shooting incident that left a Garfield County sheriff's deputy dead is expected to plead guilty to reduced charges in a Panguitch courtroom today.

William Byron Allred, 51, originally faced two first-degree felony charges of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated escape for his role in the Jan. 26 shooting death of deputy David Jones. Allred also faced a second-degree felony charge of obstruction of justice and a third-degree felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Under the plea agreement, Allred is expected to plead guilty to a single count of aggravated robbery, his attorney Marcus Taylor said Wednesday. A hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. today before 6th District Judge K.L. McIff. First-degree felonies are punishable by up to life in prison.

In June, Allred's co-defendant, Earl Leston Barnes, 53, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder for having shot and killed the deputy. Barnes is serving a life sentence in the Gunnison facility of the Utah State Prison. In that plea agreement, Barnes does not have the possibility of parole.

Jones was shot by Barnes after arresting Allred for suspected drunken driving on the Alvey Wash Road on Super Bowl Sunday. Barnes then freed Allred from custody and the two men fled into the southern Utah wilderness before being spotted by a police helicopter and taken into custody. Both Barnes and Allred were working in an Escalante saw mill at the time of the shooting.