FARMINGTON -- The parents of 6-year-old Lacey Paige Lawrence were visibly upset outside of the courtroom Wednesday after Mark Anthony Ott requested to withdraw all of his guilty pleas to charges, including murder, in connection with the first-grader's death.
"I don't think this is quite right," said Terri Cook, Lacey's mother.
"He is taking zero accountability for what he did," said Allen Lawrence, Lacey's father.
The two, along with other family members and friends of Lacey, attended a status hearing for Ott, 47, on Wednesday in 2nd District Court.
Ott's attorneys, Rich Gallegos and Elizabeth Hunt, filed the motion Wednesday requesting that Ott be allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas to aggravated murder, first-degree felony attempted murder, first-degree felony aggravated arson and second-degree felony aggravated assault.
Arguments on whether Ott should be allowed to withdraw those pleas are set for March 12. A status hearing is set for Feb. 23.
In January 2010, the Utah Supreme Court overturned Ott's sentence of life without parole on the murder charge and sent the case back to 2nd District Court for another sentencing hearing.
Ott pleaded guilty to the four charges March 16, 2004. In return, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.
A 12-member jury on April 2, 2004, spent seven hours deliberating whether Ott should receive life without parole or 25 years to life, with the possibility of parole, after a week of testimony from those affected by the crime.
After Wednesday's hearing, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said he cannot comment on whether prosecutors will now seek the death penalty on the aggravated murder charge.
He also could not comment on what direction the case would go if Ott is successful in withdrawing the pleas.
The Utah Supreme Court remanded the case to the district court only on the aggravated murder sentence, not on the other charges, Rawlings said.
Rawlings asked Judge Michael G. Allphin for the status hearing so he could talk with the victims and decide which way they want to go.
Lacey died Sept. 1, 2002, in a house fire started by Ott at the Layton home of his estranged wife, Donna Ott. The two have since divorced. She had filed for divorce in June 2002 and had a protective order against Mark Ott.
Lacey was the only child of Terri Cook and Allen Lawrence.
Allen Lawrence and Donna Ott were dating at the time, and Lawrence and Lacey ended up at Donna's home for the night.
In the early morning, Mark Ott entered the home and stabbed Allen Lawrence multiple times. He then stabbed Sarah Gooch, Donna Ott's then-17-year-old daughter, as she tried to save Lawrence's life.
Six people were staying in the house for the night. Everyone escaped the burning home, except Lacey, who was alone in a bedroom.
Rawlings said he anticipates that his office will be successful, "the victims will continue to have justice, and Mark Ott will stay in prison."
Cook said she is upset because the judge did not remove Gallegos from the case. She said she grew up near Gallegos and some of her family members had been friends with Gallegos. They also share mutual friends on Facebook.
Allphin spent time in chambers with the attorneys before the court hearing to discuss a potential conflict, but did not say in court what the potential conflict was.
Allphin ruled that the conflict was minimal.
Rawlings said that, from a legal standpoint, the conflict "was minimal," but it had been "a source of tension and frustration."
If the judge had removed Gallegos from the case, Rawlings said, it would cause a significant delay because another attorney would have to be found.