New Utah Law Keeps Convicted Murderer From Parole Unless Body Found
Feb 26, 2021, 10:07 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2023, 5:09 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — A new law saying those convicted of murder cannot be eligible for parole unless they “cooperated in the recovery of the victim’s remains” has been signed by Gov. Spencer J. Cox.
SB124, which was signed into law Thursday, may bring closure to Utah families, like that of missing Spanish Fork teenager Kiplyn Davis.
The porch light at the Davis home has stayed on for 26 years.
“We’ve kept it on for 26 years, hoping she’d come home, and we’d like to turn that off,” said Kiplyn’s father, Richard Davis.
Three men have since been convicted in the 15-year-old’s disappearance and death in May 1995. Two of those men are free once again, but Kiplyn’s family still doesn’t know where her body was concealed.
Her father recently testified before lawmakers.
“As a parent, the main resource that we really want is to bring Kiplyn home, to put her in a proper place,” he said.
The law gives the Davis family hope that the last of her aggressors in prison, Timmy Brent Olsen, will lead detectives to her body.
“I will do everything in my power to help him get out early and to come out on parole if he’ll simply help the family and help law enforcement find the remains of Kiplyn Davis,” said Utah Sen. Michael McKell, R-Spanish Fork.
The new law requires that potential parolees help in recovering the bodies of their victims with a “good faith” effort.
It’s something prosecutors in the teen’s case said Olsen has never done.
“What he did is lead the sheriff and police departments on a wild goose chase,” said Jeff Beuman, former Utah County Attorney. “The county and other police agencies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars basically chasing their tales to his amusement as we looked for her remains.”
The law is effective immediately as Olsen’s parole hearing is set for early March.
McKell, who sponsored the bill, said the law also prevents convicts like Olsen from being rewarded if they keep victims’ families in the dark.
“When you come out on parole, you’re coming out as a reward for good behavior, and I think the behavior that’s most important is helping to give a family closure,” said McKell.
Kiplyn’s family hopes convicts like Olsen will see the law as an opportunity to do the right thing.
“We just think it’s going to be another wonderful tool that will help, not only our family, but other families bring their lost ones home,” said Richard Davis.
McKell said the new law doesn’t require that bodies be found, but it does require a “good faith” effort. It also wouldn’t interfere with cases arguing a wrongful conviction.