DRAPER -- The State Board of Pardons has decided that prison will keep Ogden serial rapist Jason Brett Higgins, assigning him natural life status less than a week after his first parole hearing.
"The board has ordered that Jason Brett Higgins, age 38, (will) spend the rest of his life in prison," board spokesman Jim Hatch said in a brief news release issued late Monday afternoon.
Higgins' first parole hearing was March 27. He was sentenced in 1998 to consecutive 15-years-to-life prison terms for nine rapes of eight woman, one raped on two separate occasions.
Don Blanchard, the parole board hearing officer who sat for Higgins' session, said afterward he would recommend another parole hearing instead of a release date for Higgins.
But the full five-member board, which ratifies all parole hearing decisions, exceeded that in adding Higgins to the ranks of approximately 40 inmates serving sentences of natural life.
The full board also voted more quickly than usual.
Officials noted after last week's hearing that a decision typically comes in a matter of weeks at the earliest or as long as 45 days.
The case against Higgins was made with DNA testing before Higgins finally admitted to the rapes at his February 1998 sentencing.
The series of attacks on women walking alone at night occurred between October 1996 and February 1997.
Higgins was arrested after his car was observed in the Ogden City Cemetery, parked oddly in the vicinity of his last rape.
When contacted by police, he claimed he was in the cemetery to visit his grandfather's grave, but when taken to the cemetery by police, he could not locate the grave.
Among a long list of aggravating factors cited on a rationale checklist attached to the news release were Higgins' multiple offenses, their intentional and premeditated nature, and "extreme cruelty and depravity."
The single mitigating factor listed was his support system, evidenced by family and friends attending the parole hearing even after Higgins had served so many years in prison.