OGDEN -- Doug Lovell, 52, has canceled a parole hearing on his 1985 conviction for the rape of the woman he later was convicted of murdering.
The hearing was set for Tuesday, but the Board of Pardons received a letter Wednesday from Lovell's attorney asking that the hearing be "continued without date, pending the adjudication of the murder trial," pardons spokesman Jim Hatch announced in an e-mail to media Wednesday afternoon.
Lovell killed Joyce Yost, 39, of South Ogden, in 1985 to prevent her from testifying that he raped her earlier that same year. He was sentenced to 15 years to life on the rape conviction. He wasn't charged with Yost's murder until 1992.
Lovell pleaded guilty and took the stand at his 1993 sentencing hearing to describe killing her.
He also spent five weeks trying to lead authorities to Yost's remains where he said he buried her in Ogden Valley. Prosecutors were willing to forgo execution if Lovell could produce the body.
He didn't, and the Weber County Attorney's Office asked for and received the death penalty for the homicide in August 1993.
Since then, 17 years of appeals have transpired, and in July the Utah Supreme Court allowed Lovell to withdraw his guilty plea and ordered the case returned to Ogden for trial, which is pending.
Lovell's status at the prison hasn't changed. He is still housed in maximum security, as the capital homicide charges against him are still pending, Utah State Prison spokesman Steve Gehrke said.
Technically, Lovell is still convicted of the capital homicide of Yost until the Supreme Court's paperwork, called a remittitur, is sent to 2nd District Court in Ogden, said Dave Finlayson, Lovell's court- appointed appeals attorney from Salt Lake City. "And technically, I'm still his attorney."
Finlayson sent the letter to the Board of Pardons requesting cancellation of the parole hearing on the rape case.
"He's served 25 years on that case, that's why (the parole board) even scheduled the hearing," he said.
"As a practical matter, there's no reason to hold that hearing now. Who wants to put everyone through all that, especially the families."
"It happens more than you would think," Hatch said of an inmate canceling his own parole hearing.
"It's usually for legal reasons. If they have something going through the courts, they want to resolve it before they see us. He had his attorney write us."
The board holds roughly 60 parole hearings a week, along with about 20 parole violation hearings, he said.