Ex-police chief in Utah rejects plea deal in stalking case

AP News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2015 5:06 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A plea deal fell apart during a court hearing for a former police chief in a tiny Utah town who was fired after being accused of stalking three women.

Defendant Thomas Wade Butterfield initially entered a guilty plea on Monday to one misdemeanor count of stalking in Duchesne.

In exchange, prosecutors had agreed to drop four other misdemeanor charges.

However, defense attorney Earl Xaiz objected when prosecutor Grant Charles said the deal would cover all three women who claimed Butterfield made them fear for their safety.

Xaiz said his 44-year-old client couldn't agree to that wider acknowledgement of guilt.

"To admit that all of the elements of that one count applies to all three victims, we can't," Xaiz said, according to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City (http://bit.ly/1ywcD4Q).

Judge Samuel Chiara then rejected the initial plea by Butterfield and set a preliminary hearing for May 11.

Butterfield has previously denied the allegations that surfaced months after he became the first chief of a newly formed department in the tiny eastern Utah town of Myton last July. The department's only other staff was an on-call substitute officer. The town has about 600 people.

Butterfield was fired on Oct. 31, after he was charged with five counts that included stalking, criminal trespass and unlawful detention.

The town appointed a part-time employee as interim chief during a search for his replacement.

Xaiz did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday from The Associated Press.

Butterfield relinquished his police certification earlier this month, ending his law enforcement career, Charles told the Deseret News.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com