Cold season 2, episode 13: Last Chance – Full episode transcript

Dave Cawley: Sean Young, one of the attorneys who’d represented Doug Lovell during his 2015 capital murder trial, met with the attorney handling Doug’s appeal of his death sentence in March, 2019.

That second attorney, Colleen Coeburgh, made an audio recording of their conversation.

Sean Young (from March, 2019 recording): I don’t care what happens to Doug. I used to care. I don’t care anymore.

Colleen Coebergh (from March, 2019 recording): Ok. And I appreciate that.

Sean Young (from March, 2019 recording): He’s a manipulator and a sociopath and I’m done with him. You can tell him I said that. Hi Doug.

Dave Cawley: If you didn’t catch that, Sean called Doug “a manipulator and a sociopath.” But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s a take a moment and review.

Doug Lovell’s rape and murder of Joyce Yost in 1985 had created a legal mess. His guilty plea to capital murder in ’93 — followed by his conviction for the same crime at trial in 2015 — meant he’d twice received a death sentence. But by 2017, the case had once again become bound up by an appeal. Doug’d had claimed Sean Young had torpedoed the 2015 trial by failing to call many people Doug’d identified as potential character witnesses. He’d also claimed lawyers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had interfered with the testimonies of several people Sean had called to the witness stand.

Doug also opened a second front on Sean by filing a complaint against him with the Utah State Bar, which he mentioned in this letter to Judge Michael DiReda.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): The Utah State Bar investigated Mr. Young and on March 2, 2017, voted to direct the Office of Professional Conduct to file a formal complaint against Mr. Young in District Court.

Dave Cawley: Doug’s wasn’t the only bar complaint pending against Sean. There were others rising out of at least 20 different cases. Sean reached an agreement during the summer of 2018 to settle all those complaints. As part of that agreement, he signed a statement admitting fault in Doug’s case.

The statement said Sean had failed to screen all but two of the 18 witnesses assigned to him during Doug’s trial; that he’d failed to question the witnesses who did testify about their beliefs Doug was a remorseful man and that he’d capitulated to the church’s lawyers. A judge suspended Sean’s law license for a period of three years. Sean told the Deseret News at the time he didn’t agree with the claims in the statement, but had signed it simply to put the matter behind him.

Meantime, Doug’s new appellate attorney, Colleen Coebergh, was dogging Sean. She’d learned he possessed hundreds of emails that could be relevant to Doug’s appeal. In a sworn affidavit, Colleen wrote Sean had repeatedly told her he would provide them, then repeatedly failed to do so. She had to ask Judge DiReda to issue a court order demanding Sean surrender his emails, which the judge did. And so that’s why Sean and Colleen met at a courthouse in Salt Lake City, to make that exchange in March of 2019.

Colleen Coebergh (from March, 2019 recording): Ok, you’ve given up every document that you have?

Sean Young (from March, 2019 recording): To Sam, yeah.

Colleen Coebergh (from March, 2019 recording): Ok.

Dave Cawley: Sean told Colleen he disagreed with any suggestion his representation of Doug had been ineffective.

Sean Young (from March, 2019 recording): I did my best to help him. I actually cared about Doug. I did my best I could. I gave him advice. I said, ‘hey, waive your jury, waive the jury and go back to Judge DiReda like you did with judge uh, the original judge on the case.’ I forgot. And he didn’t want to do that—

Colleen Coebergh (from March, 2019 recording): Taylor.

Sean Young (from March, 2019 recording): Judge Taylor. And he said ‘no, Judge Taylor already sentenced me to death one time. I’m not going to waive my jury. I want a jury.’ He said, ‘no jury’s going to convict me.’ And I told him to take the stand. Those were my two pieces of advice that we talked about the whole time. And last thing he backed out. So he, he manipulated me the whole time. And I’m done with him. I’m done.

Dave Cawley: Sean said he refused to spend any more time on Doug.

Colleen Coebergh (from March, 2019 recording): I sit and waste hours and hours on this case. I haven’t been paid a dollar. I’m out $100,000 on this case and I’m kind of done with it. I’m frustrated. You guys get paid, Sam got paid, everyone gets paid except me. I’m kind of sick of it.

Dave Cawley: Sean said he wouldn’t get his law license back, even if the court decided his work for Doug had been up to par.

Sean Young (from March, 2019 recording): You’re not going to help me. You’re not there to help me.

Mitigation expert (from March, 2019 recording): Well we’re, we’re trying to help Doug.

Sean Young (from March, 2019 recording): I don’t care about Doug. He’s a manipulative sociopath. I’m kind of done with him. He manipulated me. He manipulated Sam. He manipulated you. He’s manipulated everybody. It’s what he does. That’s all he does. He’s manipulative.

Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell hadn’t been able to convince a single juror he deserved a chance for parole, but he was about to work his way out of maximum security at the Utah State Prison and one step closer to his ultimate goal: freedom. 

This is the finale of Cold, season two, episode 13: Last Chance. From KSL Podcasts, I’m Dave Cawley. Back after this break.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell happened to be listening to the radio on April 3, 2019 when he heard a woman named Candice Madsen on the airwaves of KSL NewsRadio.

Candice Madsen (from April 3, 2019 KSL NewsRadio archive): With your kids, you want to be the hero, right? You want to be in charge of everything. I think it’s okay for your kids to see you be vulnerable and to let your kids know that you struggle but that you got help.

Dave Cawley: Candice worked as a producer for KSL TV and was promoting a documentary called “Hope in Your Darkest Hour.” The 22-minute program profiled several people affected by suicide, including some who described their first-hand struggles coping with thoughts of self-harm.

Candice Madsen (from April 3, 2019 KSL NewsRadio archive): Life is hard. We can’t do it alone. We just need to reach out and support each other and validate without judgement. I think people are so afraid of being judged.

Dave Cawley: Doug wrote Candice a letter that same day.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Dear Ms. Candice Madsen, I just got done listening to you talk about suicide on KSL radio. I thought your comments were spot on.

Dave Cawley: The letter wasn’t the only item Doug put in the envelope.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Enclosed is a pamphlet which has a story about a little mouse I crossed paths with here at the prison many, many years ago. I decided last year to write about my experience with the mouse in the hope that it could be used to help prevent suicide here in Utah and elsewhere.

Dave Cawley: The front of the pamphlet included an illustration of a rather plump gray mouse holding a small cube of yellow cheese. Above the mouse were printed the words: Unforeseen Angel. Candice opened the pamphlet and started to read.

Candice Madsen: It was pretty basic. It didn’t give very much information about him other than that he was an inmate.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): When I was a little boy, our family of five moved out to the country to live on a small farm. I found that I had a love for animals and a special way of connecting with them.

Dave Cawley: Let’s fast-forward through the bits where Doug described his parents’ divorce, his brother’s death and his descent into drug and alcohol abuse.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Eventually, I did the unthinkable, for which I was sent to prison — taking the life of an innocent person.

Dave Cawley: He did not bother to say who this person was, or why he’d killed her, but said his arrival at the prison had sent him into a well of depression and “spiritual darkness.”

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): One day, a little, furry-faced mouse came wandering into my cell clearly looking for trouble or an easy snack. This was the happiest moment on A-block. I was happy to give the little guy anything he wanted.

Dave Cawley: Doug spent the next four paragraphs detailing his interactions with this mouse, describing how he’d lured the critter by rubbing peanut oil between his fingertips. He said he’d talked to the mouse, finding it an attentive listener.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): May sound strange to most people, but that little creature that God put on this earth distracted me just long enough to help get me through the darkest, loneliest, most unstable time in my life.

Dave Cawley: He concluded with a proclamation that all people are children of God with value and purpose. He offered suicide prevention resources.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): If you find yourself in a very dark place struggling to find hope or purpose in life, please take the first step toward a brighter, happier, more fulfilling life.

Dave Cawley: Doug used the word “I” 30 times in this narrative. The name Joyce Yost did not appear once.

Candice Madsen: This pamphlet was so well produced. Y’know, it was professionally done. So I was kind of, was he able to do that in prison? And so, I just thought that was interesting.

Dave Cawley: Candice turned the pamphlet over and saw a logo on the back. It read “Rising Star Outreach.” Candice showed the pamphlet to a friend, who asked if she knew who Doug was or what he’d done. A quick search through the KSL archives refreshed her memory. She discovered the evidentiary hearing tied to Doug’s appeal had not yet happened, but was just around the corner.

Candice Madsen: And I started thinking, ‘I wonder if he’s just trying to kind of get character witnesses.’”

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Utah 2nd District Court Judge Michael DiReda spent most of the month of August, 2019 on that evidentiary hearing.

Michael DiReda (from August 5, 2019 court recording): Alright, let’s turn to the matter of State of Utah versus Douglas Lovell. This is case 92-1900407. Counsel, will you state your appearances for the record, please?

Dave Cawley: Doug’s appeal of his 2015 death sentence revolved around the idea his defense team hadn’t done a good job. This is a typical step in many death penalty appeals. But the Utah Supreme Court had wanted more information before making a ruling on Doug’s claims of ineffective counsel, so it’d sent the appeal back to Judge DiReda on what’s known as a Rule 23B remand.

Russell DiReda (from August 5, 2019 court recording): This is the time scheduled for evidentiary hearing … On an order from the Supreme Court to this court under Rule 23B.

Dave Cawley: I’ve reviewed hours of this testimony but rather than plow through it all chronologically, I’m going to jump around a bit to better focus on a few particular points. I’ll start with Doug’s mouse. During the hearing, former prison guard Carl Jacobson recalled Doug having once befriended a rodent, but it wasn’t a mouse.

Carl Jacobson (from August 13, 2019 court recording): He had a pet squirrel once — Clusters — trained it and had it in his room for the whole summer. And one day I confronted him and said, ‘y’know Doug, this, this is disgusting. You and your roommate Chewy have done things wrong and you’re in jail for a reason. This squirrel has done nothing. It needs to be out chasing girl squirrels and it needs to be gathering nuts.’ And I says, ‘you keep it in a prison as your little pet. You are disgusting.’ And I left. Next day I come back. Doug Lovell, I go, ‘where’s the squirrel?’ He’d let it go.

Dave Cawley: Kent Tucker, who was married to one of Doug’s cousins, also brought up Doug’s treatment of animals.

Kent Tucker (from August 16, 2019 court recording): So, I’ve always, y’know, you hear about bad, bad guys and usually they don’t want nothing to do with animals. They’ll kill animals and stuff like that. Doug is never, that’s never been his nature. He’s, he just got a kind heart.

Dave Cawley: Kent said he’d seen that kindness all the way back in Doug’s earliest years, when he was just a boy on the farm.

Kent Tucker (from August 16, 2019 court recording): I mean he’s had skunks and squirrels and down at the prison they even had a mink come in that they brought to him and asked Doug if he was interested in this mink which, it was a wild animal, and Doug actually got it to where he could put it in his pocket and he was working at the print shop at the time and he was taking this mink with him to work.

Dave Cawley: So was the mouse mentioned in the pamphlet a real thing? Or was it an amalgam: part squirrel, part mink, part story borrowed from the movie The Green Mile? Doug’s character witnesses painted him not just as a protector of animals, but also as a shepherd of men. Leon Denney, who’d served time in the Utah State Prison in ’88, described how Doug had helped him overcome his anger.

Leon Denney (from August 5, 2019 court recording): I think I stopped hating so much. I was really filled with, with hate. Because … it made me start looking at myself and realizing that, y’know, I had to, I had to step up to the plate.

Dave Cawley: Leon had not testified at the trial, but said he would have gladly done so had Doug’s defense team bothered to ask. Other witnesses told of how Doug had cared for fellow inmates when they were ill or despondent.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): He encouraged them and he’d say ‘you can still go back to God, you can still get your life right.’ And how do I know that? Because he would say to them ‘if you don’t believe me, write Becky Douglas.’ Well I have had more than 40 prisoners writing to me because Doug Lovell said to them ‘there is a way spiritually for you to come back to the Lord.’ I have been writing to these people.

Dave Cawley: Becky Douglas had discovered in Doug an enthusiastic booster for her non-profit, Rising Star Outreach.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): The more I got to know Doug, the more I was very impressed with how remorseful he was, how much he wanted to do good, how much he cared about the children at Rising Star.

Dave Cawley: Doug had spent the last decade talking up Rising Star to anyone who would listen. In fact, several of his witnesses — including his bishops — confessed he’d talked them into contributing. Becky said Doug had spent years taking correspondence classes on religion. He’d watched a TV series about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and another about the New Testament, then sent her letters explaining how each had strengthened his faith.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): These aren’t the actions of a person who’s pretending to be suddenly come-to-Jesus or religious in order to get a light sentence.

Dave Cawley: And yet, one of the bishops who’d ministered to Doug — a man named Brent Scharman — admitted deep discussion of spiritual matters had been the exception rather than the rule during their Sunday visits…

Brent Scharman (from August 28, 2019 court recording): It was more typically about everyday issues and what was going on in his life and my life and in the world at large.

Dave Cawley: …which led the state’s attorney to ask if Doug’s turn to religion might’ve been an act.

Brent Scharman (from August 28, 2019 court recording): If it’s an act, it’s a very good act.

Dave Cawley: Doug had once told his ex-wife Rhonda you “can’t be in control unless you manipulate. Russell Minas, the attorney who’d helped Doug arrange visitation with his son in the late ‘90s, said he didn’t see their friendship that way.

Mark Field (from August 5, 2019 court recording): You don’t think he’s manipulating you.

Russell Minas (from August 5, 2019 court recording): No.

Mark Field (from August 5, 2019 court recording): And that’s on the basis of telephone calls.

Russell Minas (from August 5, 2019 court recording): Right.

Mark Field (from August 5, 2019 court recording): That he controls.

Dave Cawley: One of those phone calls had come shortly after Doug had received the death verdict in 2015. Doug had called Russell, upset, wanting to know why he’d turned his back on him.

Russell Minas (from August 5, 2019 court recording): He thought that I had changed my mind about appearing to testify. He had no idea why I hadn’t, why I wasn’t there. He felt that I’d betrayed him. I did everything that I could to reassure him that I wasn’t there because nobody ever called me to testify.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: I noticed a pattern as I listened to all this testimony. Day after day, witness after witness, the questioning almost seemed to follow a script. Appellate attorney Colleen Coeburgh would start, eliciting answers that suggested trial defense attorney Sean Young had dropped the ball.

Colleen Coebergh (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Had you had any communications with Mr. Young before he called you to the witness stand such that he would understand and know what you were even going to say when he asked you questions?

John “Jack” Newton (from August 16, 2019 court recording): No.

Dave Cawley: She asked the witnesses who’d dealt with the attorneys for The Church of Jesus Christ to explain what the church’s lawyers had said and done.

Colleen Coebergh (from August 16, 2019 court recording): And what do you think their focus was?

John “Jack” Newton (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Well, I think they were interested in protecting the good name of The Church.

Dave Cawley: Assistant Utah Attorney General Mark Field would then take over. He’d use cross-examination to reveal how little any of these people knew about what Doug had done to end up on death row. That was true even for Leon Denney, who’d met Doug in prison when Doug was still denying having raped Joyce.

Aaron Murphy (from August 5, 2019 court recording): Is it possible that Mr. Lovell really was falsely accused of rape?

Leon Denney (from August 5, 2019 court recording): I, he never told me that. I, I’ve never sat down with him and discussed what he was in for. Ever. … Y’know, it isn’t something you go around asking people what they’re in prison for it can cause just some problems, okay?

Dave Cawley: Mark Field would also point out how none of the witnesses who’d met Doug since he’d received the original death verdict in ’93 had ever interacted with him outside of maximum security.

Mark Field (from August 28, 2019 court recording): Have you ever seen how Doug Lovell reacts when a woman refuses his advances?

Brent Scharman (from August 28, 2019 court recording): No.

Mark Field (from August 28, 2019 court recording): Wouldn’t you think that someone who is capable of murdering another person in order to not go back to prison would be at least as capable of feigning remorse in order to get out of prison?

Brent Scharman (from August 28, 2019 court recording): Sure.

Mark Field (from August 28, 2019 court recording): Ok.

Dave Cawley: The point Mark was making here was that the trial defense team might’ve had good reason not to deeply probe all of Doug’s supporters in front of the jury.

Mark Field (from August 5, 2019 court recording): Because you don’t want to call people who are going to testify that Lovell should have life without parole. Right? You can’t call those people. You can only call people who will say unequivocally ‘Doug Lovell should be out.’ Because if they say anything different, then they’re say— then, the way Doug Lovell’s set it up, it’s got to be death.

Dave Cawley: Remember, Doug had refused to allow the jury the option of life without parole. Mark suggested Doug had for years intentionally kept his supporters in the dark with the singular goal of someday getting out of prison.

Mark Field (from August 16, 2019 court recording): You know, you said that Mr. Lovell is honest. And I want to kind of get to the bottom of that because you’ve also said that you never talked about the crime. Is that right?

Kent Tucker (from August 16, 2019 court recording): That’s right. I think he would have told me if I’d have asked him.

Mark Field (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Well, did he ever volunteer it?

Kent Tucker (from August 16, 2019 court recording): No.

Dave Cawley: This meant each witness was vulnerable to facing those facts for the first time on cross-examination.

Mark Field (from August 5, 2019 court recording): You would let him out of prison because you think—

Russell Minas (from August 5, 2019 court recording): Well, I certainly have heard things here today that I haven’t heard before. So, as you indicated and I acknowledged, it gives me some reason for pause.

Dave Cawley: Mark exposed other vulnerabilities, like how Gary Webster, the former bishop and parole board member, had actually signed the papers that let Doug out of prison early in the armed robbery case.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): That was when you were there at the Board of Pardons and Parole, is that right?

Gary Webster (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Yeah, yes.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): So, I mean, I guess what I’m saying is, how are, how do you know that Doug Lovell won’t do the same thing when he gets out this time?

Gary Webster (from August 12, 2019 court recording): I don’t.

Dave Cawley: What would the jury have made of that statement in 2015, when weighing the choice of giving Doug a chance at parole? I’m going to focus for a moment on the testimony of Becky Douglas, to provide a better sense of how the state’s line of attack worked. Mark asked Becky if she knew about Doug’s conviction for armed robbery in ’78. She said no.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): So, you didn’t know that he’d been released in three years. Right?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Right.

Dave Cawley: This queued up a string of follow-up questions.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Do you know what he did two years later, three years later?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): No, I’m sure you’re going to tell me.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): He raped Joyce Yost.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): ‘Kay.

Dave Cawley: He drew out each detail of the crime, starting from when Doug had first seen Joyce at the Pier 3.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): He watched her come out of that restaurant. And when he saw her get in her car, he followed her home. Did you know that?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Umm, I knew that. Could I say that what he did was unbelievably heinous and atrocious and horrible. And as a woman, I think as women we all live in fear of this exact kind of thing happening. And I feel for what happened to Joyce Yost. And I feel, and I don’t think I need to know the details of what happened to Joyce Yost. What I need to know is what happened to Doug Lovell after that happened.

Dave Cawley: But Becky was not in control of this narrative. Mark continued, describing what’d happened when Joyce had arrived home.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Did you know that he then looked at her and said ‘you’re attractive, do you want to go have a drink with me?’ Did you know that?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): No. I think I’ve made it very clear that I didn’t know what happened at that time.

Dave Cawley: Mark forced Becky to acknowledge what she knew — or didn’t know — never flinching away from the facts.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Well did you know that after he did that he was aroused enough to then sodomize her? Did you know that?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): No, I didn’t know that.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): He didn’t tell you that, did he?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): I think I’ve been very clear about that.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Is that ‘no, he didn’t tell you’?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Seriously? You don’t think that’s a no? (Laughs) Of course it’s a no. I mean, this is almost, this is almost an insult, right? Can you just simply tell me what you want me to say no to and I’m happy to say no.

Dave Cawley: He asked about Doug’s efforts to hire a hitman who’d then failed to follow through. Becky said that, she knew.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Did you know that he hired a second person?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): I knew that also.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): And do you know that that person said no?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Yes, I read all this on the internet.

Dave Cawley: Mark described the night of Joyce’s murder, how Joyce had begged for her life as Doug force-fed her Valium and drove her into the mountains.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): And he choked her until she was unconscious. Were you aware of that?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): No, but I think if you’ll turn around you’ll see that there is remorse. The man that you’re talking about is crying.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Your honor, your honor, this is not responsive.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): As you talk about these terrible, horrible things that he did, he’s over there weeping. And you ask me how I know he’s remorseful. I think that answers, that’s one answer to your question.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): So tears to you indicate sincerity?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Well, I think tears show sorrow.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Well, I guess that’s your opinion.

Dave Cawley: Becky came through this gauntlet, only to then face perhaps the most critical question.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Wouldn’t you agree that there’s at least some risk that if Doug Lovell gets out, he may harm another person?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): I think that risk is so low, it’s negligible.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Ok, but it’s not zero.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): It’s not zero for me either or you either. We all have the possibility of harming another person.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Well, but we know that Doug Lovell raped and murdered another, murdered a woman, don’t we?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Yes we do.

Dave Cawley: Doug’s character witnesses were not unified in their responses to this final question. Some said their newfound knowledge of Doug’s crimes did give them pause in supporting his bid for parole. Others, like former bishop John Newton, equivocated.

Mark Field (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Wouldn’t life without parole just satisfy, be the safest alternative?

John “Jack” Newton (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Well, y’know, you’re saying ‘safest.’ Would it be a safe alternative?

Mark Field (from August 16, 2019 court recording): The safest.

John “Jack” Newton (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Well, that implies that you know how Doug’s going to act in the future. And I don’t and you don’t.

Mark Field (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Yes, but you know Mr. Newton, one of your daughters is now the age that Joyce Yost was when that man raped and took her life. Do you understand that?

John “Jack” Newton (from August 16, 2019 court recording): Y’know, give me the dignity of being a professional. Of course I do.

Dave Cawley: On one point though, the witnesses all seemed to agree: the Doug they knew was not the same man who’d killed Joyce all those many years ago.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Doug and I have not spoken about this so I think all this is—

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Is what?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Irrelevant. I’ve already testified—

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): I’m sorry, did you just say—

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): —that we haven’t spoken about it.

Mark Field (from August 12, 2019 court recording): —did you just say it’s irrelevant?

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): Yes. Because, because I don’t know that Doug. I only know the Doug that I met in 2007.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: One final point before we move on. During the evidentiary hearing, several of Doug’s witnesses said something like this:

John “Jack” Newton (from August 16, 2019 court recording): And I know on more than one occasion he’s declined an opportunity to be interviewed because he’s concerned that somehow the publicity of this will reach his victim’s family and he feels, in my opinion, a great amount of remorse and is aware of the, at least to some degree, the suffering he’s put them through and doesn’t want to make that worse.

Dave Cawley: Candice Madsen, my colleague at KSL TV who’d received that pamphlet from Doug in the mail, attended parts of the evidentiary hearing. She noted how much older Doug looked compared to his appearance in ’85 or even ’93.

Candice Madsen: And then the other thing that was kind of heartbreaking is, Joyce’s daughter was in that courtroom alone.

Dave Cawley: I asked Kim Salazar about this idea Doug not talking about Joyce was somehow meant to spare her family additional pain.

Kim Salazar: If he were trying to minimize our pain and suffering at this point, we wouldn’t still be on a 23B remand 35 years later. He’d be done. This thing would be done.

Dave Cawley: But it’s far from done.

Kim Salazar: He hasn’t even scratched the surface of the appellate process. We’re still arguing about ineffective assistance of counsel. It’s ridiculous. So he is not trying to spare us anything.

Dave Cawley: Candice wrote a letter of her own to Doug in the fall of 2019.

Candice Madsen: And umm, I just said basically that I was interested in interviewing him. I wanted to bring a producer. … And sent it. I think it was only a paragraph long.

Dave Cawley: Doug’s reply arrived soon after.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I appreciate your offer to come to the prison to interview me, but I must decline. When ever I am in the news, I know that it is very upsetting to the family and loved ones of Ms. Yost. Each time I am in court, I believe it is very difficult for them.

Candice Madsen: Well, I wrote back and made it clear that Joyce’s family knew that I had reached out to him and I never heard back.

Dave Cawley: Doug had included another full-color pamphlet containing a different inspirational message about his life in prison published again by Becky Douglas’ charity, Rising Star Outreach.

Candice Madsen: I mean, I believe in redemption and that people in prison should have an opportunity to do good, but I question his motives.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: I’d been working as a radio news producer at the time of Doug’s 2015 trial. I was aware of it then, but only superficially, as the story of a very old murder which had been solved but was back in court on technicality. It wasn’t until Candice came to me and talked about receiving the letter from Doug that my interest was piqued. Like Candice, I dove into the archives. The stories I found all seemed to focus on Doug. It became clear to me that Joyce’s story — like Susan Powell’s — had not been told. I couldn’t shake the feeling Joyce deserved better. So I spent more than a year tracking down sources, digging up old audio, pouring over court transcripts and searching for a secluded mountain gravesite.

Bill Holthaus: Like I say, the only thing I believe is she’s not where he took us.

Dave Cawley: Yeah.

Bill Holthaus: Got to be somewhere else. I can’t believe that he, I refuse to believe that she doesn’t know where she’s at.

Dave Cawley: Bill Holthaus doesn’t believe cougars or coyotes are to blame for Joyce not being on the mountain below Snowbasin. Neither does former South Ogden police sergeant Terry Carpenter, for that matter.

Terry Carpenter: He went back there how long after he killed her and buried her. He knows exactly where she’s at. He knows exactly where she’s at.

Dave Cawley: Joyce’s son Greg Roberts is likewise skeptical.

Greg Roberts: I mean, it’s such an intense situation I know he could take you right to the spot immediately.

Dave Cawley: But where is that “spot?” Police and prosecutors showed with the Joyce Yost case they could prove a murder without a body. But their inability to bring Joyce home has left some deep scars.

Terry Carpenter: My wife and my two little kids went up one time to Snowbasin area to, on a picnic, if you will. And we’re having lunch and I says ‘why don’t we just walk down this area.’ And my wife looked at me and says (pause) ‘you’re still looking, aren’t you?’ I says ‘yeah, I was just walking.’ So we’ve got our little kids and we’re just walking and I’m looking, y’know and all the sudden my wife yells at me and says ‘Terry, what if we find something?’ We tried. She’s not there.

Dave Cawley: Terry is a Christian. He told me he believes in a resurrection. He expects to see Joyce again.

Terry Carpenter: Someday we’ll know. I look forward to that day and wonder if it’s not something that I missed.

Dave Cawley: But the question of where to find Joyce, if not along the Old Snowbasin Road, isn’t the only one still in need of answers. You’ve heard Terry say in this podcast he believes Doug might have killed other people. There are others who call this is far-fetched. And they may be right. I don’t have firm evidence linking Doug Lovell with Sheree Warren, for instance. But Sheree’s case is, like Joyce Yost’s, long overdue for a fresh look. I’ll have more to say about that in the future.

Kim Salazar told me she believes the discovery of her mother’s remains — if it happens — will be a matter of random chance.

Kim Salazar: I don’t believe that even at the 11th hour, if we ever were to reach the 11th hour, that Doug would be the one that would give us that information and I truly in my heart believe that he won’t. So I do think we’re going to have to get there by some other means.

Dave Cawley: Perhaps, as I tend to suspect, Joyce is not far off the side of the highway that crosses the Monte Cristo Mountains, where a wildlife officer observed Doug and Rhonda together in late 1985. That’s a piece of the puzzle that hardly anyone knew about before this podcast.

Bill Holthaus: I did not know about that at all.

Dave Cawley: I’ll show you some documents and—

Bill Holthaus: That’s, that’s, no that’s interesting.

Dave Cawley: I suggested to Bill Holthaus Joyce might be in one of those aspen groves, buried under branches and leaves, out of sight of the hunters who frequent those hills, waiting for someone to step in the just the right spot. Or maybe not. I made a vague reference to this theory in a letter of my own to Doug Lovell. Doug did not respond.

Candice Madsen: And it’s a pattern with him that, y’know, he doesn’t, y’know, wanna disrespect the family or disrespect Joyce’s memory. You’re disrespecting Joyce by not saying her name. By not remembering her. She’s not, I mean we, she is a person. She was a living person. And it’s just, when you read that letter, I don’t think he got it. And I still don’t think he gets it.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: The Utah Supreme Court’s order sending Doug’s appeal back to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing had carried a 90-day deadline. The hearing had not taken place until more than two years later. Judge Michael DiReda had told both sides at the conclusion to submit their proposed findings to him by the end of January, 2020. Doug’s appellate attorney Colleen Coebergh asked for a one-month extension with just days remaining, due to a death in her family. She requested another delay in February, citing “attorney health and workload.” Then, March happened.

Announcer (from March 11, 2020 KSL TV archive): This is breaking news from KSL.

Dave McCann (from March 11, 2020 KSL TV archive): Good evening, we’re following breaking news tonight. Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert is confirmed to have the Coronavirus, prompting the NBA to suspend the season indefinitely.

Deannie Wimmer (from March 11, 2020 KSL TV archive): This comes as international health officials have declared the coronavirus a pandemic…

Dave Cawley: The Utah Jazz — the state’s premier professional sports team — became a flashpoint in the global spread of Covid-19. Much of American society went into lockdown within hours of that announcement.  A magnitude 5.7 earthquake rattled northern Utah a week later. It dealt damage to the building that houses the Utah State Archives.

Garna Mejia (from March 18, 2020 KSL TV archive): Luckily no one was injured. Officials say damages are primarily cosmetic and the building is closed as authorities continue monitoring the aftershocks.

Dave Cawley: Colleen requested another extension, citing these unforeseeable circumstances. Month by month, delay by delay, the goalposts moved farther into the future. Doug lost touch with his lawyer, as he revealed in a letter to the court that July.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I have had no contact with my attorney for some time. I have no idea as to what is going on? Please send me a copy of my court docket for the last 90 days.

Dave Cawley: The Utah Attorney General’s Office submitted its proposed findings that fall. Colleen again asked for more time, prompting another letter from Doug in November.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I ask this court to not grant Ms. Coebergh any more extensions. Enough is enough. I am very frustrated.

Dave Cawley: Judge DiReda allowed one final delay, but warned if Colleen didn’t submit her proposed findings by the end of January, 2021 — a full year after the original deadline — he would go ahead and issue his ruling without her input. Doug’s attorney did get her proposed findings in, after the deadline. A few weeks later, at the end of February, Judge DiReda released his conclusions.

The nearly 170-page document went against Doug on every point. In short: trial attorney Sean Young had not acted deficiently. A full point-by-point analysis would take more time than I have, so just a few observations.

First, Judge DiReda said he’d found many of Doug’s witnesses lacked credibility and exhibited bias, brought on by their disappointment at the outcome of the 2015 trial. He said many of them had become “hesitant or outright evasive” when confronted with the facts of Doug’s crimes at the evidentiary hearing.

Second, Judge DiReda found no evidence that Church lawyers had threatened any witnesses or interfered with their testimonies.

Third, the judge said the settlement agreement Sean had signed over Doug’s complaint to the state bar after the trial was “unreliable” and contained “numerous factual inaccuracies.” He placed little, if any, weight on what it’d said.

And fourth, Judge DiReda noted it was Doug’s own insistence on refusing to allow the jury the option of life without parole that caused most of his defense team’s problems. Michael Bouwhuis and Sean Young had repeatedly pressed Doug to reconsider. They’d known the best chance of saving his life was to push for life without parole. By denying them that strategy, Doug had effectively limited the value of his own witnesses.

So where does all this leave us now? Doug’s appeal is now back in the hands of the Utah Supreme Court. If the justices allow the latest death verdict to stand, it won’t mean a quick end to the case. Years, if not decades, of additional appeals will likely follow. These could potentially drag the case into the federal courts. And, if Doug loses every step of the way there, he will still have a chance to beg for commutation from the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. If, on the other hand, the Utah Supreme Court overturns the death verdict, it will pave the way for yet another trial.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: The tragedy is, this all could’ve been prevented right from the start, in the summer of 1985. Doug repeatedly slipped through the fingers of police, the courts and jail staff. But it was Joyce who paid the price for those failures. Utah created a state office for victims of crime two years after Joyce’s rape and murder, in part because it recognized people like her had too often been left to fend for themselves.

Gary Scheller: There would have been much more care and safety wrapped around Ms. Yost to prevent this.

Dave Cawley: That’s Gary Scheller, the head of the Utah Office for Victims of Crime.

Gary Scheller: She didn’t have any knowledge. She didn’t have the opportunity to protect herself.

Dave Cawley: In ’94, the year after Doug’s first death sentence, Utah voters ratified a crime victims bill of rights.

Craig Wall (from October 12, 1994 KSL TV archive): Supporters of proposition number one say it’s an important first step in making the court process more victim friendly.

Paul Cassell (from October 12, 1994 KSL TV archive): What we’ve seen with crime victims in the state of Utah is that they’re treated like pieces of evidence. They’re not really given any dignity at all.

Craig Wall (from October 12, 1994 KSL TV archive): The amendment says victims have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. They also have the right to be notified of important court hearings. But supporters say most importantly, the amendment says victims don’t have to testify at preliminary hearings. Someone else such as a police officer could do that for them.

Dave Cawley: This point strikes me as significant. It’s a bit of a balancing act, because Bill Holthaus told me the entire rape case might have fallen apart in 1985 had Joyce not testified.

Bill Holthaus: I don’t think if she hadn’t been to the prelim and they hadn’t allowed … the Davis County Attorney secretary to read that, he, he might not have been convicted on the rape.

Craig Wall (from October 12, 1994 KSL TV archive): The argument is, if victims don’t have to take the stand it eases some of the trauma. There is some opposition to the amendment from criminal defense attorneys. But the only aspect they’re really against is the one that would eliminate the need for victims to testify at preliminary hearings.

Richard Mauro (from October 12, 1994 KSL TV archive): A police officer testifying from what a third person told him that’s written in a report doesn’t always accurately tell us what happened in the case. And live witness testimony is the best mechanism available for discovering the truth.

Dave Cawley: The amendment passed in spite of that opposition. But Gary Scheller told me these rights, which are now enshrined in Utah’s Constitution, are largely symbolic.

Gary Scheller: They’re important and they’re critical but at the same time they’re just kind of warm and fuzzy and feel good and have no teeth.

Dave Cawley: What did have teeth was a massive federal crime bill passed into law by the U.S. Congress that same year, spearheaded by a senator who is now serving as President of the United States: Joe Biden. Much can — and has — been written about the more controversial provisions of this crime bill in the years since.

Charles Sherrill (from September 13, 1994 KSL TV archive): The legislation provides $8 billion for new prisons, $7 billion for crime prevention and outlaws 19 types of assault weapons.

Bill Clinton (from September 13, 1994 KSL TV archive): We will finally ban these assault weapons from our street that have no purpose other than to kill.

Dave Cawley: That ban on the possession, manufacture and sale of some semi-automatic firearms has since expired.

Charles Sherrill (from September 13, 1994 KSL TV archive): Lots of new cops can soon be hired with funds from the bill but Salt Lake’s mayor admits it might be hard to meet the payroll when federal funding expires.

Deedee Corradini (from September 13, 1994 KSL TV archive): I’m always concerned about that but I’m willing to take that risk. I think we can do it, I’m quite confident we can do it and we will be applying. We need those officers right now.

Dave Cawley: That bulking up of police ranks has come under increasing scrutiny since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The crime bill expanded the death penalty, making many more federal offenses eligible for capital punishment.

Charles Sherrill (from September 13, 1994 KSL TV archive): Fulfilling the President’s promise to get tough on crime will make lots of new work for Utah’s U.S. Attorney.

Scott Matheson (from September 13, 1994 KSL TV archive): We’ve got to get on top of the provisions in this bill very quickly and there are many that could potentially affect our work.

Dave Cawley: But most relevant for the purpose of our story is a portion of that crime bill known as the Violence Against Women Act.

Joe Biden (from August 25, 1994 U.S. Senate recording): We have significant penalties in here to deal with, uh, providing women with some genuine, uh, protection, particularly women who are battered and abused by their spouses, their loved ones quote-unquote, uh, those with whom they’re familiar.

Dave Cawley: Joe Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware, had personally authored that part of the package.

Joe Biden (from August 25, 1994 U.S. Senate recording): The only thing in this bill that I wrote from scratch was the Violence Against Women Act. That is a small part of this, maybe that’s why I was so emotionally attached to it.

Dave Cawley: Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch had railed against the crime bill, calling it stuffed with pork.

Orrin Hatch (from August 25, 1994 U.S. Senate recording): There are a lot of us who are just plain sick of trying to stop this gravy-sucking hog called the federal government and its liberal friends from eating us alive.

Dave Cawley: But Hatch had supported one small piece — the Violence Against Women Act — even crossing the aisle to co-sponsor that bit with Biden. The Act aimed to close gaps that existed between police, prosecutors, courts and non-profit service providers in their support of victims of domestic abuse, stalking and sexual violence. Its method of doing so came largely in the form of grants: federal money handed off to the states.

Over the past two-and-a-half decades, Violence Against Women Act grants have helped fund domestic violence hotlines and rape crisis centers. They’ve allowed colleges and universities to crack down on stalking and sexual assaults. They’ve provided legal support to survivors. States have come to depend on these funds to provide critical services to women. But those grants are not eternal. They only continue if Congress votes to keep funding them every five years or so. At the time I’m recording this, Violence Against Woman Act funding has lapsed and lawmakers have so far failed to reauthorize it.

Joyce’s experience proves one of the most critical needs for any survivor is information. Think back to that question she asked only hours after her rape: how safe am I?

Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He, he kept threatening me that if I didn’t cooperate and if I didn’t go with him, it was going to be the end of it for me.

Rob Carpenter (from April 4, 1985 police recording): That’s exactly how he put it, it was just going to be the end of it for you?

Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yeah, he was going to rip my vocal cords out here.

Dave Cawley: Joyce’d had no way of tracking Doug Lovell in the weeks and months after his arrest. Was he in jail, out of jail? She didn’t know.

Gary Scheller: For a long time, that was really kind of treated as none of the victim’s business, what we’re doing with this person.

Dave Cawley: Again, that’s Gary Scheller from the Utah Office for Victims of Crime. He told me most states now use a system called VINE to keep people like Joyce informed about their attacker’s status.

Gary Scheller: They can receive a notification if they’re going to be released, if they have a hearing coming up with the Board of Probation and Parole, if they’re moved from one facility, correctional facility to another they get a notification. So they can have some, some piece of mind knowing that they’re at the moment safe.

Dave Cawley: Technology also now allows cops, courts, probation officers and the like to more easily share information across jurisdictional lines. But lapses can and do still happen because people make mistakes, exhibit bias, are overworked or undertrained or just burn out and stop caring.

Joyce had trusted that the system would protect her. But her son Greg Roberts told me she’d also just wanted to move on with her life.

Greg Roberts: She didn’t tell me that she had been raped until a couple months after it happened. And then she really played it down.

Dave Cawley: Joyce’d feared the humiliation of being labeled a victim and having her private life dissected in court, as she’d seen happen on TV. That’s less likely to happen now than it was in ’85, because of state and federal rape shield laws. These laws say defendants cannot use information about an accuser’s past sexual behavior or sexual predisposition as evidence, with only a few narrow exceptions. But while shield laws have strengthened protections in the court of law, one look at social media will show they hold no sway in the court of public opinion.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Retired Clearfield police detective Bill Holthaus told me he thinks the chances of Doug ever getting out of prison are low. But maybe that’s not the point.

Bill Holthaus: I think that is the glimmer that he’ll someday get out. I personally believe that he could con people then and he can con people now.

Dave Cawley: Back in episode 8, I described how prison staff moved Doug into maximum security in ’92, after Terry Carpenter served him with the murder charge. Doug had gone from living in a dormitory setting, where he was free to work and interact with others, to spending all but three hours each day locked alone in his cell.

Doug Lovell (from May, 1992 prison phone recording): I’m hoping we can get this straightened out, y’know, pretty quick with the attorney and whatnot. ‘Cause I’d like to go back to work at the sign shop. I hear they’re keeping my job for me, but, y’know, they can’t keep it forever.

Dave Cawley: When Doug wrote to my colleague Candice Madsen in 2019, the envelope showed he’d sent the letter from Uinta 1: the maximum-security cell block at the Utah State Prison that for decades has housed the state’s death row inmates. But something interesting has happened in the time since. The Utah Department of Corrections moved Doug out of max. He’s now living in medium security. I’ve been told he has a job again, working in the prison’s welding shop. Fewer fences now separate him from the outside world.

I was curious why this change, so I asked Corrections Director Brian Nielson to explain it.

Brian Nielson: Those that have a death sentence, they’ve been in very restrictive housing traditionally for a very long time, without the option to do anything else.

Dave Cawley: Brian wouldn’t talk specifically about Doug’s case, but said the department implemented a policy in 2005 called “Last Chance.” He says it allows inmates to earn their way out of max.

Brian Nielson: So they’ve really had to demonstrate that they can function in that setting ahead of time and then we test the waters in small incremental ways to help them get there.

Dave Cawley: But something doesn’t add up, because at the time I’m recording this, the department’s own website says the policy doesn’t apply to death row inmates. The website says the only way off of max for them is to have their convictions overturned or sentences commuted. Which contradicts what Brian told me.

Brian Nielson: We’ve had a couple make it that far but it’s taken, y’know, 13, 14 years to get there.

Dave Cawley: More than a couple. Prison records show of the seven inmates under sentence of death in Utah in June of 2021, only two of them are still in maximum security at the Uinta facility.

Brian Nielson: That risk is going to be inherent in that process and we keep our guard up all the time while looking for opportunities to help people advance.

Dave Cawley: There is logic in allowing inmates a path forward. The vast majority are only in prison temporarily. It’s the goal of the department to help offenders change their ways and avoid coming back once released. Even people serving life without parole sentences might be easier to manage if given an opportunity to better their own situations in some small way. But Utah’s courts have twice said Doug should die for what he did. Which means the state now finds itself in the awkward position of simultaneously arguing in court Doug is a manipulator who’s conned people into supporting his bid for parole, while at the same time granting him additional freedoms based on his ability to convince prison staff and social workers he’s not a threat.

Bill Holthaus: And I know these are professional counselors that he’s with. Y’know, I understand that and they got a lot of training and so do I, but he’s a con artist.

Dave Cawley: I requested a copy of the Last Chance policy under Utah’s public records law. The department refused to provide it, claiming it was “protected” because release could interfere with investigations or audits. Doug Lovell murdered Joyce Yost to keep her from testifying. He tampered with Tom Peters to try and intimidate him into not testifying. He used his last stint on the outside, after convincing the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole he’d changed, to rape and to kill. How does all that balance now against Doug’s good behavior while in prison?

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Two part question. One: does he have a realistic chance of ever getting out of prison? Two: does he have a realistic chance of ever being put to death?

Bill Holthaus: One: no. Two: also no.

Dave Cawley: Bill Holthaus told me he believes it’s unlikely prosecutors will win a death verdict a third time, if Doug gets yet another trial.

Bill Holthaus: If there’s another jury here, it’s going to be a jury of people who weren’t even born when this happened and they’re not going to be able to relate. … But I think he’ll be convicted again, if we go back to trial. The evidence was good, it’s still good and I have no doubt. But I would be surprised if they once again pursued the death penalty.

Dave Cawley: Utah has not executed a death row inmate since 2010. It hasn’t added someone to death row — excepting Doug’s 2015 return — since 2008. Utah’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice released a report a few years back that noted public support for the death penalty in the U.S. has waned to its lowest point since 1972. The report cited a Gallup poll which showed death penalty support in the 1990s — when Doug was first sentenced to death — was near 80-percent. As of a few years ago, that had fallen to about 55-percent.

As of 2020, half of the states in the U.S. had abolished the death penalty or placed capital punishment on indefinite hold. Joyce’s family, meantime, remains steadfast in their push to see Doug Lovell die…

Greg Roberts: I don’t see it ever happening.

Dave Cawley: …even though Greg Roberts acknowledges they are swimming against the currents of culture and criminal process.

Greg Roberts: That’s why I just don’t know if they’ll ever carry it out in this case because it’s still got so many years to go.

Randy Salazar: Do I think in my lifetime that I’ll ever see Doug get the, the death penalty. Will it, will it ever go through? No.

Dave Cawley: Kim and Randy Salazar have each been ground down by the decades of never-ending court hearings.

Randy Salazar: And Doug, if you were any kind of man, you’d be dead right now because you’d ask for the death penalty just to be over with.

Dave Cawley: Neither believes Joyce’s killer will ever win parole.

Kim Salazar: Somewhere in his mind he believes he’s going to. I mean, I think he really believes that some day he could walk out of there.

Randy Salazar: The taxpayers have paid so much money for him to be down there and to get lawyers and tell his side of the story … Well, the son of a bitch is guilty. And you sentenced him to death. Get it over with.

Dave Cawley: Meaning Doug Lovell might just remain in limbo until the day he dies of natural causes, as has happened to two other Utah death row inmates in recent years.

Kim Salazar: I think that we have a better chance of him dying of old age in there than we do of him dying by the hand of the state.

Randy Salazar: Do I think that’s fair? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. But do I hope one day that he has to see Joyce again? Hell yeah. And do I hope that Rhonda has to see Joyce again? Hell yeah.

Dave Cawley: I’m not here to advocate for Doug’s life or death. It’s not my intent to take a position on capital punishment. But it’s worth considering the collateral damage of a case like Doug’s. The justice system finds itself struggling to balance the cries for vengeance from people like Joyce’s ex-husband Mel Roberts…

Mel Roberts: I’m probably the one person that could’ve got on an airplane, went up there and shot that son of a bitch, got up and left and got away with it and nobody’d have known the difference. And trust me, I thought of it. I swear to God I thought of it.

Dave Cawley: …against Doug’s civil rights and the pleas for mercy from people like Becky Douglas.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): When you talk to someone and they’re crying so hard they can’t talk to you because they feel so bad about what they’ve done, that’s, you say angry, angry with himself. Yes. He was furious with himself over what he had done.

Dave Cawley: It is, perhaps, an impossible balance to strike.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: A bit earlier I talked about how I first came to know Joyce’s story. What I didn’t tell you was the sense of dread I felt at taking on the assignment of telling it. I knew from the outset I would have to contend with a very sensitive topic. I worried about all the mistakes and missteps I might make as a man in this space, trying to share Joyce’s perspective.

It was, in some ways, similar to how I felt in season one, telling the story of Susan Powell’s abusive marriage. The difference is Susan left us a better record of her thoughts, actions and feelings. Much of what I know about Joyce’s life comes only secondhand. Yet the more I’ve learned about Joyce as a person, not just as a name in a news story, the more empathy I’ve gained for what she went through.

Look, I enjoy a place of privilege in society as a white heterosexual man. Strange guys don’t follow me home when I go out to dinner with a friend. I’ve never worried that a woman might grab me by the throat and tear my clothes off outside my own house. This privilege can breed complacency. It can make me blind to what Joyce and so many other women experience every day. And that is injustice.

This season bears a subtitle — Justice for Joyce — and I have to be honest: I don’t love it. It seems trite to me. It doesn’t capture the way I felt the first time I heard Joyce’s voice in that tape recording with Bill Holthaus just hours after her rape. It can’t convey how I hurt for her when I listen to her voice cracking saying the words “I have been raped.” How I still break down and cry when she asks a police officer “how safe am I?”

“Justice for Joyce” reduces what she went through to a tagline. And I hate that. I voiced this complaint and was challenged to come up with something better. And I couldn’t do it.

Bill Holthaus: There is no justice for Joyce. Let’s preface it by saying that. When you kill somebody, you kill somebody. There’s no such thing. It’s justice for what he did to Joyce.

Dave Cawley: Joyce hadn’t wanted to go to detective Bill Holthaus after Doug Lovell followed her home, raped her, kidnapped her and raped her again. She’d simply wanted what so many other people who experience unexpected trauma want: a return to normalcy and a restoration of safety. Joyce would have been justified if she’d chosen to stay silent. But she spoke up because she felt a responsibility to help protect whomever Doug might’ve targeted next. And for a brief moment it seemed the system might work. Bill believed Joyce. Doug landed in jail. She spoke her truth in court.

Then, all the mechanisms of law and civil society that were meant to protect her failed. The people who were closest to Doug repeatedly rewarded him — the handsome white guy from a good Christian family — with the benefit of the doubt, even after he’d proved he didn’t deserve it. They chose to believe him when he said he’d been falsely accused, or at least decided to look the other way.

Some are still doing so even today, dissociating the Doug they know from the one who chose to kill Joyce Yost.

Joyce paid for her courage with her life. So what message does that send to every other woman who’s ever been groped, catcalled, stalked, assaulted or raped and feared coming forward? Imagine the tragedy of a Joyce who’d lived by keeping the rape a secret, spending her entire life plagued by undeserved guilt and self-doubt, wondering how many others that man had gone on to terrorize.

How many men have allowed — still allow — their privilege to blind them to what so many women endure in silence? I don’t want to be one of them.

Ep 13: Last Chance

Let me tell you of how I first came to hear Utah death row inmate Doug Lovell’s mouse story.

In April of 2019, as I was wrapping up production on the first season of Cold, a colleague of mine went on the airwaves of KSL NewsRadio to talk about a suicide prevention documentary she’d produced called “Hope in Your Darkest Hour.”

“Life is hard. We can’t do it alone,” Candice Madsen said in the radio interview with KSL’s Dave and Dujanovic. “We just need to reach out and support each other and validate without judgement.”

Douglas Lovell was among the people listening to Candice’s words. From his cell in Uinta 1, the Utah State Prison’s maximum-security facility, Doug took note of the message. And he decided to share his reaction with Candice in a hand-written letter.

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie… you can click here to download the PDF file.

Doug Lovell wrote this letter to KSL’s Candice Madsen on April 3, 2019.

“I thought your comments were spot-on,” Doug wrote. “Enclosed is a pamphlet which has a story about a little mouse I crossed paths with here at the prison many, many years ago.”


Doug Lovell’s mouse story

The pamphlet included with Doug’s letter was titled “Unforeseen Angel.” The front page featured an illustration of a plump gray mouse with a piece of cheese. The inside pages of the pamphlet told of his arrival at prison.

“When I first arrived, I was in very bad shape mentally, emotionally, physically, and in grave spiritual darkness,” Doug wrote. “I was separated from my family and the free world, addicted to drugs and alcohol, angry, frustrated, and in denial.

Doug Lovell's mouse story, written while he was on death row, tells of his arrival at the Utah State Prison.
Doug Lovell has lived at the Utah State Prison continuously since arriving in January of 1986, following his conviction for the rape of Joyce Yost. Photo: Utah Department of Corrections

Doug went on to describe how he’d encountered a mouse and lured it to his cell with bits of food.

“This was the happiest moment on A-block,” Doug wrote. “I was happy to give the little guy anything he wanted.”

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie… you can click here to download the PDF file.

Doug Lovell’s mouse story is contained in this pamphlet printed by the non-profit organization Rising Star Outreach.

Doug wrote that his interactions with the mouse had helped him endure a difficult adjustment to prison life and his feelings of remorse for having taken an innocent life.

“That little creature that God put on this earth distracted me just long enough to help get me through the darkest, loneliest, most unstable time in my life,” Doug wrote.

Doug Lovell’s mouse story omitted the details of his crime. The pamphlet did not identify Doug by name. It also did not identify the person he’d killed, Joyce Yost, or explain how he’d kidnapped and sexually assaulted her before returning months later to kill her.

Joyce Yost Utah
Doug Lovell murdered Joyce Yost in 1985 to prevent her from testifying against him in court. The pamphlet containing Doug Lovell’s mouse story did not mention Joyce by name or explain why he’d killed her. Photo: Joyce Yost family

The back page of the pamphlet included information about suicide prevention resources, along with a logo for the Utah-based non-profit Rising Star Outreach.


Rising Star Outreach

Rising Star Outreach’s tax filings describe the organization’s mission as empowering “individuals and families to rise above the stigma associated with leprosy, and to live healthy and productive lives through quality education, medical care, and community development.” Suicide prevention work did not fall under that umbrella. Neither did working with death row inmates.

Doug Lovell had first become aware of Rising Star in 2007, after seeing a PBS documentary about the organization and its founder, Rebecca Douglas, called “Breaking the Curse.” He’d started contributing a small amount of money each month to her cause. They’d exchanged letters and Doug had eventually invited Rebecca to visit him at the prison.

I don’t know that Doug. I only know the Doug that I met in 2007.

Becky Douglas

That’s how Rising Star Outreach had come to champion the account of a man who’d kidnapped, raped and murdered a woman. Rebecca Douglas had not only tapped a sanitized version of Doug Lovell’s story for the Unforeseen Angel pamphlet, she’d also written about her experiences with him for Meridian Magazine.

Rebecca testified at an evidentiary hearing tied to Doug’s death penalty appeal on August 12, 2019. She said she and Doug had never discussed the details of the crime that’d resulted in his twice receiving a death sentence.

“I don’t think I need to know the details of what happened to Joyce Yost,” Rebecca said from the witness stand. “I think all this is irrelevant … because I don’t know that Doug. I only know the Doug that I met in 2007.”


Character witnesses

Doug Lovell’s 2019 letter to KSL’s Candice Madsen seemed designed to spark a similar connection. She wrote back to him later that year.

“I just basically said that I was interested in interviewing him,” Candice said. “I think it was only a paragraph long.”

Doug Lovell responded in another letter dated November 9, 2019.

“I appreciate your offer to come to the prison to interview me, but I must decline,” Doug wrote. “Whenever I am in the news, I know that it is very upsetting to the family and loved ones of Ms. Yost. Each time I am in court, I believe it is very difficult for them.”

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie… you can click here to download the PDF file.

Doug Lovell wrote this letter to KSL’s Candice Madsen on November 9, 2019, declining an invitation to speak about the murder of Joyce Yost.

Candice had by that point already been in contact with Joyce Yost’s daughter Kim Salazar and informed her of KSL’s intention to produce an in-depth podcast series about her mother’s murder.

“If he were trying to minimize our pain and suffering at this point, we wouldn’t still be on a 23B remand 35 years later,” Kim said during an interview for Cold. “We’re still arguing about ineffective assistance of counsel. It’s ridiculous. So he is not trying to spare us anything.”


Hear how Doug Lovell’s mouse story plays into his death penalty appeal in Cold episode 13: Last Chance.

Episode credits
Research, writing and hosting: Dave Cawley
Audio production: Nina Earnest
Audio mixing: Trent Sell
Additional voices: Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell)
Cold main score composition: Michael Bahnmiller
Cold main score mixing: Dan Blanck
KSL executive producers: Sheryl Worsley, Keira Farrimond
Workhouse Media executive producers: Paul Anderson, Nick Panella, Andrew Greenwood
Amazon Music team: Morgan Jones, Eliza Mills, Vanessa Rebbert, Shea Simpson
Episode transcript: https://thecoldpodcast.com/season-2-transcript/last-chance-full-transcript/
KSL companion story: https://ksltv.com/464974/douglas-lovell-seeks-to-reverse-second-death-sentence-in-joyce-yost-murder/
Talking Cold companion episode: https://thecoldpodcast.com/talking-cold#tc-episode-13

Ep 12: Dancing with the Devil

Doug Lovell stood trial for his crime.

A jury had convicted him. A judge had sent him to prison. He’d behaved himself once there and served his time, or at least some of it. He’d convinced the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole he was a changed man, deserving of a second chance.

And so Doug Lovell re-entered society, backed up by people who loved him and believed in him. People who trusted him, even though he’d hurt many of them in the past.

Doug Lovell mug shot car theft
Douglas Lovell’s July, 1985 mugshot following his arrest on a warrant for car theft. Doug had been involved in the transfer of two vehicles stolen off of Salt Lake City car lots during 1984. Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Doug did well on parole. He stayed out of trouble long enough to free himself of the onerous supervision of an overworked parole officer after about a year. He got a job and maybe, a few loved ones thought, he’d finally gone straight.

This was no clean break. In reality, Doug went right back to what he’d been doing before. Only now, his network of criminal associates was larger. He’d used his time in lock-up to make new connections.

It was 1983. Within a matter of months, Doug would see a woman he’d never met leaving a supper club. He would wait for that woman — Joyce Yost — to drive away in her car. Then, he would follow her home.


Joyce Yost’s sexual assault

Doug Lovell’s attack on Joyce Yost under cover of darkness on that April night in 1985 did not happen in isolation. It was an escalation, the latest in a long string of criminal acts. Though just 27 years old, he’d already spent more than half of his young life taking from others to satisfy his own wants.

But Doug didn’t just steal money or property from Joyce. He robbed her of her safety. He exhibited callous disregard for her wellbeing, for her humanity.

Joyce Yost (right) poses with her daughter Kim Salazar (second from right), niece Cathy Thoe (second from left) and sister Dorothy Dial (left). Photo: Joyce Yost family

Joyce was resilient, composed and courageous in her response. She made the difficult choice to report what Doug had done to her, enduring multiple interviews and a physical examination. She took to the witness stand at Doug Lovell’s preliminary hearing and spoke her truth.

Doug Lovell’s trial was coming. Joyce would have to testify again. She should’ve been protected. But the criminal justice system — comprised of judges, lawyers, police officers, jailers — repeatedly fumbled in dealing with Doug. It provided him chance after chance to leave custody, summon aide from his criminal associates and ultimately, to kill Joyce himself.


Douglas Lovell’s plan for freedom

With every second chance Doug Lovell was ever given in his life, he’d pressed his luck. He’d behaved when the heat was on, and went wild when nobody was watching.

“You have no feeling for the people that you’re hurting or watching get hurt. You just go dead inside.”

Doug Lovell

Doug Lovell began plotting a path to freedom upon returning to prison in January of 1986. He did not intend to serve out the 15-years-to-life sentence he’d earned for sexually assaulting Joyce Yost. Whether through a successful appeal or by once again convincing the parole board of his contrition, he would evade responsibility.

“I’m thankful for being here. I’m not thankful for the length of time that I’ve had to be here,” Doug told his ex-wife Rhonda Buttars in January of 1992.

Doug had not yet learned Rhonda had betrayed him. She’d confessed her role in the murder of Joyce Yost to South Ogden police Sgt. Terry Carpenter. He didn’t yet know she’d recorded his phone calls and twice worn a wire into the prison to gather evidence against him.

In that second wire recording, Doug had told Rhonda he would’ve destroyed many lives if he weren’t imprisoned. He’d described a “dysfunctional” state within himself.

“It’s robotic. You just, you’re able to just do it. You don’t feel anything. You don’t sense anything. You have no feeling for the people that you’re hurting or watching get hurt. You just go dead inside and you become really cold and just kind of a robotic state and you can function really fine. And I’ve been that way for quite a while,” Doug said.


Capital murder for killing Joyce Yost

The calculation changed for Doug Lovell once Terry Carpenter served him with a capital murder charge in May of 1992. He was no longer finagling for his freedom. Instead, he was fighting for his life. Conviction would likely carry a sentence of death.

Doug’s sole bargaining chip was a piece of information he alone possessed: the location of Joyce Yost’s body. He told his attorney he’d be able to find the spot even in a blinding snowstorm.

Doug agreed to a plea deal. He admitted to the murder and promised to lead police to Joyce’s remains. In exchange, they’d ask the judge to spare his life.

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Doug Lovell’s letter to Utah 2nd District Court Judge Stanton Taylor, written ahead of his 1993 sentencing hearing for the murder of Joyce Yost.

Yet when the time came to lead police to that spot, Doug seemed to struggle. Emotion overcame him. He portrayed a persona wracked with guilt, far from the robotic, “dead inside” state he’d described to Rhonda.

“I don’t know what happened to Joyce’s body,” Doug wrote in a letter to Utah 2nd District Judge Stanton Taylor, the man tasked with sentencing Doug for the crime of capital murder. “I know the place that I have taken the police time and time again is the place where I took this young ladies [sic] life and left her there. I can’t explain why she’s not there. It’s also very important to me along with the family to see her have a proper funeral, and layed [sic] to rest.”

The gravity of what Doug had done was not lost on Judge Taylor. He sentenced Doug to death.


Doug Lovell’s trial

Within a matter of days, Doug Lovell went to work attempting to undo that sentence. He asked to withdraw his guilty plea. Seventeen long years of court hearings and appeals followed.

In the summer of 2010, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Judge Taylor had made a critical error when advising Doug of his rights at the time he’d entered his guilty plea. The high court set the stage for Doug to stand trial.

Doug Lovell’s trial occurred in March of 2015, almost 30 years after his original rape of Joyce Yost. His court-appointed defense team didn’t bother arguing innocence. Their entire strategy revolved around saving Doug’s life.

Doug Lovell trial 2015
Douglas Anderson Lovell listens to his attorney, during proceedings in Judge Michael DiReda’s 2nd District Court in Ogden, Friday, March 27, 2015. Photo: Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune, court pool

Doug himself made this difficult. He refused to allow the jury the option of sentencing him to life without parole. Doug’s goal wasn’t just the preservation of his own life. It was the resumption of his previous life outside of prison. If he could convince just one of the 12 jurors to vote against a sentence of death, he would get that opportunity.

“The fact that in 1991 Doug is trying to cover up this murder doesn’t mean that he’s not on his way to becoming something better,” defense attorney Michael Bouwhuis said in closing arguments. “There’s a spark of humanity, there’s a spark of remorse, there’s a spark of a recognition that his behavior, his conduct hurt other people.”

Would that “spark” be enough to convince the jury to grant Doug Lovell yet one more in a long string of second chances?


Hear what what the jury decided in Doug Lovell’s trial in Cold episode 12: Dancing with the Devil

Episode credits
Research, writing and hosting: Dave Cawley
Audio production: Nina Earnest
Audio mixing: Trent Sell
Additional voices: Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell), Scott Mitchell (as Chuck Thompson), Amy Donaldson (as Becky Douglas)
Cold main score composition: Michael Bahnmiller
Cold main score mixing: Dan Blanck
KSL executive producers: Sheryl Worsley, Keira Farrimond
Workhouse Media executive producers: Paul Anderson, Nick Panella, Andrew Greenwood
Amazon Music team: Morgan Jones, Eliza Mills, Vanessa Rebbert, Shea Simpson
Episode transcript: https://thecoldpodcast.com/season-2-transcript/dancing-with-the-devil-full-transcript/
KSL companion story: https://ksltv.com/464454/actions-deprive-joyce-yost-family-of-time/
Talking Cold companion episode: https://thecoldpodcast.com/talking-cold#tc-episode-12

Cold season 2, episode 12: Dancing with the Devil – Full episode transcript

Dave Cawley: The penalty phase of Doug Lovell’s trial for the murder of Joyce Yost began on March 20, 2015.

Mike Anderson (from March ??, 2015 KSL TV archive): Prosecutors described in detail Douglas Lovell’s rape and murder of Joyce Yost back in 1985 and a long criminal history that started in his teen years.

Dave Cawley: Kim Salazar and Greg Roberts had each testified already, during the trial’s guilt phase. But they took the stand again in the penalty phase and were able to tell a broader story.

Greg Roberts: It was great to look at the jury and just tell our side and I mean I think it had an impact.

Dave Cawley: This was an opportunity Kim and Greg had not had during Doug’s original sentencing in ’93. They were able to tell the jurors who their mother was…

Greg Roberts: She was a great, great, great, mother. She was just a wonderful grandmother. She was so happy.

Kim Salazar: Everybody will say the same thing. ‘Oh, she was so beautiful. Oh, she was so sweet. She was the kindest woman, she,’ and she was. She was genuine.

Dave Cawley: …and they described the far-reaching — and ongoing — impacts of what Doug had done to her.

Kim Salazar: I don’t know, he’s a horrible person and he’s done horrible things. And he’s, as far as I’m concerned he’s continued to do horrible things to our family for all these years.

Dave Cawley: Kim’s children, who were by then adults, sat in the gallery as she testified. Their dad, Kim’s ex-husband Randy, was right beside them.

Randy Salazar: When Kim testified this last time … she said she wanted to apologize to her ex-husband for not being the wife she could have been and she also apologized to her kids for not being 100-percent focused on them when she should have. But you know, I mean, there was no. She, she did nothing wrong.

Greg Roberts: Yeah I think Kim’s oldest Melisa and, y’know, Melisa and Melanie, her children have a lot of resentment on what this has done to their mom’s whole life. Of where it’s become the main focus of your life.

Dave Cawley: Kim and Randy’s daughters even took the stand themselves, to describe how their young lives had changed when their grandma Joyce had disappeared.

Randy Salazar: And now my kids are older. Now they have to listen to this. And Kim and Greg, we got to go through this whole trial again. (Pause) Not fair. Not fair.

Dave Cawley: Greg’s children had not even been born at the time of Joyce’s murder.

Greg Roberts: I miss terribly that my kids couldn’t know her and get a bigger piece of her, uh, growing up. A bigger influence from her growing up.

Kim Salazar: He took all that from us.

Greg Roberts: That’s part of my biggest regrets.

Dave Cawley: This is Cold: season 2, episode 12: Dancing with the Devil. From KSL Podcasts, I’m Dave Cawley. We’ll be right back.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: The Weber County Attorney’s Office pushed for a sentence of death against Doug Lovell during the penalty phase of his 2015 capital murder trial. They had a proxy once again read a transcript of Doug’s own words from the earlier ’93 sentencing hearing. They played portions of the two wire recordings with Doug and Rhonda inside the Utah State Prison, focusing on portions like this one, where he’d talked about the anonymous caller who’d reported finding a body near Causey Reservoir.

Doug Lovell (from January 18, 1992 wire recording): The only thing I’m nervous about is that one time that caller called in. I remember, ah, seeing it on TV.

Dave Cawley: And they put an investigator on the stand to tell the jury how those remains had never been located or recovered. Then, it was Doug’s turn. His defense team — lawyers Michael Bouwhuis and Sean Young — made their case for a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

The first three defense witnesses were John Newton, Gary Webster and Chuck Thompson. All three men had at various times served as bishops for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Utah State Prison. All had ministered to Doug.

Defense attorney Sean Young led the questioning of the bishops and the results were, I’ll just say, stilted. Apologies in advance for the poor quality of this audio, it’s unfortunately the best available for this piece of testimony.

Sean Young (from March 23, 2015 court recording): And are you aware of Mr. Lovell’s current status with the Latter-day Saint church?

Chuck Thompson (from March 23, 2015 court recording): Yes I am.

Sean Young (from March 23, 2015 court recording): And what is that?

Chuck Thompson (from March 23, 2015 court recording): He’s excommunicated.

Dave Cawley: If you couldn’t make that out, Chuck Thompson acknowledged that Doug had been excommunicated from The Church.

Chuck’s testimony wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for Doug, but that wasn’t because Chuck held reservations about Doug’s character. To the contrary. He very much believed Doug was a reformed man. So why didn’t he emphatically express that belief?

There’s a back story to these bishops that requires some explanation. Doug had identified four bishops, as well as the person above them in the church’s hierarchy — called a stake president — on his witness list.

Prior to the trial, attorneys from the law firm Kirton McConkie — acting as outside counsel to The Church — had connected with these five men to offer them legal representation if they wanted it. The church’s attorneys had advised the bishops they were not permitted to speak on behalf of the church, or about matters of doctrine or policy. But John Newton, Brent Scharman, Gary Webster and Chuck Thompson had all wanted to speak for Doug. They all believed him worthy of a chance for parole.

The Church of Jesus Christ, unlike many other Christian faiths, does not take a public position on the issue of capital punishment. The church’s lawyers communicated to Doug’s defense team that, in their view, putting all the bishops and their stake president on the stand on Doug’s behalf might lead some people to assume — incorrectly — that The Church was taking an official position on his specific case. The church’s lawyers advised Doug’s defense if they wanted to question the bishops, they would have to compel that testimony by subpoena.

Defense attorneys Michael Bouwhuis and Sean Young reached a compromise. They would subpoena just three of the bishops and in exchange the church’s lawyers agreed not to fight those subpoenas.

Sean Young (from March 23, 2015 court recording): And just for the record, you’re here under order of subpoena today. Is that correct?

Chuck Thompson (from March 23, 2015 court recording): It is. I’m under order of subpoena.

Sean Young (from March 23, 2015 court recording): Ok, no further questions at this time, your honor.

Dave Cawley: When these three bishops testified at the trial, they each made mention of Doug’s charitable giving to Rising Star Outreach. Becky Douglas, the head of that non-profit, arrived at the Weber County Courthouse the following morning. She’d traveled all the way from the Dominican Republic, where her husband was at that time serving as a mission president for The Church. Becky, in her role as “companion” to the mission president, had needed Church permission to leave that post, even temporarily. That permission had been slow in coming, and Becky had at one point told a supervisor they were welcome to excommunicate her, but she would testify on Doug’s behalf no matter what.

In a later court hearing, Becky would describe encountering a church lawyer at the courthouse on the day she’d arrived to testify.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): A man approached me and said ‘Are you Becky Douglas?’ I said ‘Yes.’ He said ‘Could I have a word with you?’

Dave Cawley: Becky said she’d told the man she intended to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which he agreed she should do. They’d both then entered the courtroom and sat in the gallery.

Becky Douglas (from August 12, 2019 court recording): When I was called to testify I got up. He stood up so I could get out and he put his hand on my arm and he said, gave me a pat and he said ‘I’m sure you’ll do just fine.’ That actually felt a little intimidating to me.

Dave Cawley: I wanted to ask Becky about this, but she didn’t respond to an interview request for this podcast. But consider, it’s not surprising or even unexpected a lawyer for an organization that’s being discussed in court might want to be present to hear that testimony firsthand. I’ll go into more detail about whether or not this amounted to intimidation or interference in the next episode.

In Becky’s testimony, she voiced the most emphatic support for Doug of all his character witnesses, portraying him as a giving, caring man who in spite of past failures had endeavored to become a better person.

The next day, she received an email from one of Doug’s bishops, Chuck Thompson. Here’s what it read:

Scott Mitchell (as Chuck Thompson): Hello Becky, nice job on the testimony. You hit the nail on the head. I was careful to say too much with my church position. In fact, I was instructed to say as little opinion as I could and followed counsel.

Dave Cawley: Becky replied to this email, describing her own discomfort over the presence of the church’s lawyers at the trial.

Amy Donaldson (as Becky Douglas): But I felt very blessed. I had prayed for the spirit and as I took the stand I felt a calm peace settle over me. It seemed that whenever the prosecuting attorney closed some doors they were later opened by the Lord in unexpected manners and I was able to share the things I had come to share.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Becky Douglas and Doug’s bishops constituted just a fraction of the people on the defense’s witness list. But many of the others didn’t show up to testify. Defense attorney Sean Young told Judge Michael DiReda their mitigation specialist had struggled to locate some of these people.

I want to look at one of those in particular. His name was Brian Peterson. Brian had worked as a prison guard at SSD. During Doug’s first sentencing for the murder in ’93, Brian had told the story of the time Doug had washed the eyes of another guard who’d been accidentally been sprayed with insecticide.

Sean told Judge DiReda no one could find Brian. The defense had mailed a subpoena to what they believed was his address, but he hadn’t showed up as ordered. Sean asked the judge to declare Brian unavailable, which would allow the defense to simply present his testimony from transcript. Judge DiReda said this troubled him.

Michael DiReda (from March ??, 2015 court recording): I guess I’m troubled by the fact that no one has physically gone to the address to confirm that this person in fact is there or not there.

Dave Cawley: In the absence of these other character witnesses, the defense turned to its experts. They brought forward not one but two Ph.D-level forensic psychologists.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 KSL TV archive): Somewhere between the age of six and eight, one of his brothers hit him in the head with a rock.

Mike Anderson (from March 31, 2015 KSL TV archive): Lovell’s attorneys described how he had a long history of head trauma, including a major construction accident as an adult.

Dave Cawley: One of the psychologists, Mark Cunningham, spent hours on the stand talking about Doug’s youth and the environment in which he’d been raised.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 KSL TV archive): After the divorce came everything else, all these crimes that you’ve heard about.

Mike Anderson (from March 31, 2015 KSL TV archive): Then there was the troubled childhood. His mom’s struggle with depression.

Dave Cawley: Cunningham placed blame on Doug’s parents, saying his mother Shirley had been distant and detached. She’d been so medicated, he said, that she hadn’t nurtured her youngest son. Cunningham said Doug’s father Monan had been absent or worse, outright abusive to Doug’s mother Shirley. As a result, he said, Doug had modeled that behavior as he’d grown into a man.

There may’ve been some truth in one or both of these claims. The problem was, there weren’t any other defense witnesses with first-hand knowledge of Doug’s childhood who backed up what Cunningham said. Doug himself had, in many of his letters, described having a wonderful childhood with loving parents.

There’s one other expert witness Doug’s defense called to testify. His name was David Stoner.

David was a wildlife biologist and Ph.D-level ecologist at Utah State University. He was an expert on the topic of mountain lions. The purpose of his testimony was to provide an explanation for why Joyce’s body hadn’t been at the spot along the Old Snowbasin Road where police had searched in ’93.

David Stoner (from March 30, 2015 court recording): It’s been acknowledged by a number of authorities that animals tampering with human bodies really confounds these investigations.

Dave Cawley: The defense used this to suggest Doug had acted in good faith, that he’d made an honest attempt to lead the searchers to Joyce’s body. Prosecutor Gary Heward attacked this idea on cross-examination. Even if animals had scattered the remains, Gary asked where were Joyce’s clothes? Her necklace? Her purse?

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): It’s also true, isn’t it Dr. Stoner, that animals are not going to have any interest in a woman’s purse?

David Stoner (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I wouldn’t think so.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): The jewelry she’s wearing, the contents of her purse?

Dave Cawley: And though it didn’t come up in court, I’ll suggest you to consider what had happened to Theresa Greaves. When police had located her remains on that hillside just a month before this trial, they’d also found animals bones and droppings in the area. Yet, in more than 30 years, scavengers had not dug up Theresa’s remains.

Defense attorney Michael Bouwhuis next put Rhonda back on the stand. Michael showed old family pictures of Doug, Rhonda and her daughter Alisha together on camping trips. He talked about how Doug had wanted to adopt Alisha. Then, he had Rhonda read portions of the loving letters she’d written to her husband after he went to prison for raping Joyce.

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): It’s just not the same with you not with us. Doug, I love you with all my heart and soul and I never want us to be apart from each other. I would die without you, Doug. Us and the kids are one and we can never break that.

Dave Cawley: Michael’s questioning of Rhonda painted them as a happy family, with Doug a dedicated father. On cross, prosecutor Gary Heward drew a different picture of Rhonda…

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Are you afraid of Doug Lovell?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes I am.

Dave Cawley: …as a woman long plagued by conscience…

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Rhonda, how did it make you feel when you, in 1991, told Terry Carpenter what’d happened to Joyce? How did it make you feel?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I was very relieved.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Did defendant Douglass Lovell ever show you or take you to where he had dumped the body of Joyce Yost?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): No.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Did he ever tell you where he had dumped the body of Joyce Yost?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Just up by Causey.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Is that the only thing he ever told you? Up by Causey?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): He never told you on Snowbasin Road?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): No.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Never used those words?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Not to me.

Dave Cawley: Rhonda dropped something of a bombshell toward the end of her time on the stand, regarding one time when she’d visited Doug at the prison in the late ‘80s.

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes, on one visit, umm, he said if he had to do a really long time in there, that he would plan an escape.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Those were his words?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): And I said — yes — I said ‘where would you go?’ And he said ‘up in the mountains.’

Dave Cawley: Rhonda had never said anything about this until a couple of weeks prior, when she’d revealed it to the prosecution.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): And so, the times that you’ve testified previously in this case under oath, you did not, in fact, mention anything about an escape plan, did you?

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Nope.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Did not. Until today.

Rhonda Buttars (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yep.

Dave Cawley: Which led defense attorney Michael Bouwhuis to wonder, what else had Rhonda never disclosed?

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Well I’m going to ask you now, is there anything else that needs to come forward in this case that you haven’t said yet?

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Judge, I’ll object to the form of the question. ‘Anything else?’

Michael DiReda (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Mr. Bouwhuis, you can rephrase.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I’m going to withdraw the question.

Michael DiReda (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Thank you.

Dave Cawley: A man named Kent Tucker followed Rhonda on the stand. The junior member of Doug’s defense team — attorney Sean Young — led the questioning.

Sean Young (from March 30, 2015 court recording): And what’s your current occupation?

Kent Tucker (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I’m a bus driver for Weber County School District.

Dave Cawley: Sean asked Kent how he knew Doug.

Kent Tucker (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Doug’s mother and my mother-in-law are sisters.

Dave Cawley: Kent had watched Doug grow up, from a distance.

Kent Tucker (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Doug always wanted he, he was just really hungry for somebody to pay a little attention to him and always want to know if I’d take him hunting or fishing. That’s always been one of his passions.

Dave Cawley: They’d briefly lost touch after Doug first went to prison for the rape of Joyce Yost. They’d reconnected a few years later and Kent had been paying Doug regular visits ever since. They’d grown very close and Kent said he would take Doug in, if Doug someday managed to secure his freedom.

Kent Tucker (from March 30, 2015 court recording): And I figure I could be, y’know, maybe build him up a little bit. I’ve, I, we’ve been engaged in a lot of humor down there.

Dave Cawley: That was about it. Sean’s examination of Kent and cross lasted all of 10 minutes. The defense then asked for an early lunch, so they could try and contact other witnesses who had not shown up yet. But there were no more witnesses coming. So, after lunch, Judge DiReda raised the question of whether Doug intended to testify. Sean Young had urged Doug to take the stand.

Michael DiReda (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Have you had a chance to, to discuss that right with your attorneys and have you made a decision about what you want to do with respect to that right?

Doug Lovell (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes sir. I have talked with both of my attorneys and I’m choosing not to testify.

Michael DiReda (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Okay.

Dave Cawley: With that…

Michael DiReda (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Mr. Bouwhuis, you may proceed.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Thank you your honor. The defense rests.

Michael DiReda (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Alright, thank you.

Dave Cawley: The state then had an opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses. The first was Jared Briggs. Doug’s defense team had fought against this, arguing the state had added Jared to its witness list too late in the process and without proper warning, but Judge DiReda decided to allow it. Jared, you might recall, had been incarcerated at the Utah State prison years earlier and had briefly bunked in the death row cell block.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Do you recall specifically where you were housed?

Jared Briggs (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Uinta One, block one, cell 104.

Dave Cawley: Jared shared the same story you heard in episode 10: how he’d met and befriended Doug, how they’d talked about hunting and fishing and eventually, how Doug had opened up and told him about the murder.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): When he was describing those events in detail, and he did describe them in great detail, is that right?

Jared Briggs (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Did he show any remorse?

Jared Briggs (from March 30, 2015 court recording): No.

Dave Cawley: On cross, defense attorney Michael Bouwhuis peppered Jared with questions designed to show his knowledge of the case was flawed, embellished and included outdated details — pieces Jared could’ve only known from having read old transcripts.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): You’re aware that Doug Lovell had a lot of his legal paperwork with him in prison.

Jared Briggs (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Everybody does.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Including Doug?

Jared Briggs (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Don’t know, never was in his cell.

Dave Cawley: This was a trap and the defense closed it by calling a man named Ralph Menzies to the stand.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Are you an inmate at the Utah State Prison?

Ralph Menzies (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes sir.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): What are you serving time there for?

Ralph Menzies (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Capital homicide.

Dave Cawley: Ralph’s criminal history stretched back nearly as far as Doug’s. Just weeks after Doug had arrived at the prison in ’86, Ralph had kidnapped a woman named Maurine Hunsaker from a convenience store. He’d robbed her, tied her to a tree in a canyon east of Salt Lake City and slit her throat. A judge had sentenced Ralph to die by firing squad in ’88. Doug and Ralph had lived next to one another for more than two decades. Which meant Ralph was also acquainted with Jared Briggs.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Was there a period of time when, in that same section, there was a Jared Briggs housed?

Ralph Menzies (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes sir.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Do you remember him?

Ralph Menzies (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes sir.

Dave Cawley: Ralph said all the death row inmates kept their case papers in their cells. But it was tough to do any meaningful work using the tiny tables inside each 14-by-7-foot cell. So, Ralph said, they would often take their papers out on the tier, the common area. One time, Ralph said, they’d been ordered into lockdown while Doug’d had his papers out on that table. Doug had left them there. The lockdown had stretched on for hours and, after a time, the guards allowed Jared Briggs out of his cell to do some work.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Do you know whether or not Jared Briggs had contact with his papers?

Ralph Menzies (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Uh yeah, Doug asked him when he come in if he would pick everything up and take it to his cell and he’d get it in the morning.

Dave Cawley: Ralph said Jared had kept Doug’s legal papers — transcripts, motions, court decisions and the like — in his own cell that night. This suggested that everything Jared knew about Doug’s case had come not from Doug himself, but instead from Doug’s files.

The state called Carl Jacobson as its final rebuttal witness. Carl had left his job at the prison at the end of 2005, concluding a 22-year career with the Utah Department of Corrections.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): In the time period you were there at the Utah State Prison, did you become acquainted with the defendant here in court, Douglas Lovell?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes, I did.

Dave Cawley: I’ve mentioned Carl several times before. He’d first met Doug while working in SSD in ’87.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Did you develop a rapport with him?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes I did.

Dave Cawley: That rapport, Carl said, had benefited them both. It’d evolved into a relationship of quid pro quo.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Quid pro quo meaning what?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Something for something.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Okay.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): He gave me something, I gave him something, within reason and within the authority of my position.

Dave Cawley: Carl said Doug had not been a difficult inmate. He didn’t brawl, he didn’t break rules. He didn’t cause problems. But he sometimes fed Carl information about others who did. Inmates often ratted one another out to the guards like this, either to keep from having the whole group punished for a single person’s misdeeds or to covertly take out the competition and move up in rank.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): So there’s a motive behind that and you’ve got to weigh that balance out. And, and often times it’s dangerous and it’s difficult but it’s part of the equation. It’s part of management of a correctional facility.

Dave Cawley: Doug’s good behavior had also on occasion resulted in his receiving what are known as positive “chronological notes” or c-notes in his jacket — a sort of permanent record.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen. An inmate jacket is from the beginning to the end of their incarceration and possibly more.

Dave Cawley: Inmates coveted positive c-notes. They were the currency with which a prisoner could prove good behavior when standing before the parole board pleading for their freedom. Doug’s jacket was replete with positive marks for actions he’d taken at Carl’s request. He had, for instance, repeatedly talked with groups of high schoolers as they took tours of the prison arranged by Carl.

Prosecutor Gary Heward asked Carl about the time in December of ’98 when he’d pulled Doug into a conference room for a one-on-one talk about Joyce’s murder. It had come following the death of Carl’s father.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I said ‘Joyce deserves what my father has. And you need to stop this nonsense and you need to come clean with me, and you need, I deserve the why and the what. I want to know what you did. And why you did it.’ And he proceeded to tell me.

Dave Cawley: I described this encounter once already, so I won’t spend too much time rehashing it here. But Carl did say from the stand Doug had blamed the detectives for their inability to find the body during the searches along the Snowbasin Road.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I responded that it was [expletive]—”

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): And how did he respond to that?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): —that he’s a mountain man, he knows the outdoors. He’d went there, he’d returned and shrub oak grows this much in nine years. He knows where it’s at. He knows where that body is and why won’t he give this body up?

Dave Cawley: Carl said he believed there were three possible reasons why Doug had not — and still would not — admit to the actual location of Joyce’s remains. First, if he’d mutilated them. Second, if there were more than one body at the site. And third, a combination of reasons one and two.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): How would you describe for this jury this defendant?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): On the positive, he’s charming, cooperative, manageable, articulate, very smart. On the negative, he’s cold, calculating and controlling.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Is he a manipulator?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): How would you rank him as far as being cunning and smart in the people you’ve dealt with?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Top of the list.

Dave Cawley: Then, Gary arrived at the most important question.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Do you believe if he were paroled that he would be dangerous in the future?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes.

Dave Cawley: Defense attorney Sean Young countered this on cross, highlighting Doug’s clean behavioral record.

Sean Young (from March 30, 2015 court recording): No assaults?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): None.

Sean Young (from March 30, 2015 court recording): No escape plans, that you’re aware of?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): None, none that I know of.

Sean Young (from March 30, 2015 court recording): No attempted escapes?

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): None that I know of.

Dave Cawley: Sean brought up those student panels, where Doug had talked to high schoolers about life in prison. Carl said Doug’s participation had probably not been motivated by altruism.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Because there was something in it for him.

Dave Cawley: Those panels, Carl said, had allowed Doug an opportunity to leave maximum security, if only for an hour. He’d been able to walk between the prison buildings, feeling the green grass between his toes. A tiny, but significant, taste of freedom for someone who otherwise lived in a world of steel and concrete.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): And so it broke his routine up, and he got to walk through the yard. He got a cigarette and he also received a positive C-note from me.

Dave Cawley: At one point, Sean suggested Carl had even treated Doug as a “friend.”

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I wasn’t his friend.

Sean Young (from March 30, 2015 court recording): You treated him like a friend that day.

Carl Jacobson (from March 30, 2015 court recording): I was friendly all the time. I was not his friend. I knew who I was dancing with. And when you dance with the devil, you know who you’re dancing with.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell was either an angel or a devil, depending on who you asked.

Scott Mitchell (as Chuck Thompson): Doug is a man who has repented and deserves a chance to get into society before he dies.

Dave Cawley: His bishop, Chuck Thompson, sent this email to the head of the charity Rising Star Outreach, Becky Douglas, on the final day of witness testimony.

Scott Mitchell (as Chuck Thompson): Saw Doug yesterday. He glowed. You are his angel and might be the one who saves his life.

Dave Cawley: Both Chuck and Becky had testified on Doug’s behalf. Both had seen Joyce Yost’s children Kim Salazar and Greg Roberts sitting in the courtroom.

Scott Michell (as Chuck Thompson): I still don’t understand what part of the atonement Joyce’s kids don’t understand. After 30 bitter years, it is more than time to let go and forgive Doug, a changed man.

Dave Cawley: Closing arguments began the following morning. Prosecutor Chris Shaw went first. He told the jury over the 30 years since Doug had killed Joyce, the focus had become “all screwed up.”

Chris Shaw (from March 31, 2015 court recording): It gets perversely directed back at him. When the focus should not be on him, it should be on Joyce Yost.

Dave Cawley: There can be no closure, he said, when your loved one is taken from you forever.

Chris Shaw (from March 31, 2015 court recording): Consider that weight … the weight of the human destruction … that this defendant’s conduct has had on that family. And on Joyce Yost, most importantly. Life ended at 39 years.

Dave Cawley: He asked the jurors to consider whether Doug had showed Joyce human dignity when she’d pleaded for her life. And he challenged the idea Doug’s efforts to lead investigators to Joyce’s remains had been authentic.

Chris Shaw (from March 31, 2015 court recording): Remember his manipulative, controlling and cunning nature. We have to stop and get a beer before we can take law enforcement to the place? Are you kidding me? We have to stop and get a beer. This is the same person that raped her, that kidnapped her, that kidnapped her again and murdered her and he’s squeamish about taking police to the right spot? Please.

Dave Cawley: Chris asked the jury to make its decision based on the entire constellation of Doug’s criminal behavior.

Chris Shaw (from March 31, 2015 court recording): He’s committed all of the aggravating felonies the state of Utah has to offer.

Dave Cawley: This, Chris said, justified a sentence of death. Defense attorney Michael Bouwhuis then stood and reminded the jury Doug did not contest the facts of the crimes he’d committed 30 years earlier.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): The state’s right. It was a horrendous crime. Uh, there’s no excuse for it, there’s no defense for it. Which is exactly why, during the trial phase, we didn’t present a defense.

Dave Cawley: But, Michael said, there were other factors to consider: Doug’s family life, his parents’ divorce, a history of head trauma and substance abuse. And what about Rhonda? Michael called her a co-conspirator who’d needed immunity because of the active role she’d played in plotting Joyce’s death.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): And of course, where we’re going with this is not that we ought to somehow bring Rhonda in and charge her. But the question is whether it’s appropriate — and that’s a decision you’re gonna have to reach at the end of this case — whether it’s appropriate and just in this case to impose the death penalty on Doug when Rhonda didn’t face any charges at all.

Dave Cawley: Michael said Doug had been earnest in his efforts to take Terry Carpenter to Joyce’s body.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): Doug Lovell has the greatest incentive of anybody to lead them to the right place. If he leads them to the right place, death is off the table and he lives.

Dave Cawley: And all of the hand-wringing over that anonymous call in ’87 about human remains near Causey Reservoir? Michael said that call probably wasn’t even about Joyce. He said the person who’d called probably just wanted to goad police into looking for another missing woman, hinting at, but not actually saying the name Sheree Warren.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): Is that speculation? Sure it is. But what other explanation is there for this odd behavior from this man who calls and does not give any helpful information?

Dave Cawley: Michael suggested that anonymous call was the first mention of Causey attached to Joyce’s disappearance, from which all others had spawned.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): Rhonda didn’t say anything to anybody about Causey until 1991, four years later. Jared Briggs doesn’t say anything about Causey until he reads Doug’s paperwork.

Dave Cawley: Michael was calling Causey a red herring. And if that were true, he suggested, it would mean Jared Briggs was a liar. Michael summed up by saying Doug had spent 30 years in prison improving himself.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): So the fact that in 1991 Doug is trying to cover up this murder doesn’t mean that he’s not on his way to becoming something better.

Dave Cawley: A slow process, but one which Michael said was well underway at the time Rhonda recorded her ex-husband while wearing a wire.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): There’s a spark of humanity, there’s a spark of remorse, there’s a spark of a recognition that his behavior, his conduct, hurt other people.

Dave Cawley: You’ve heard those tapes and can judge for yourself whether or not they reveal Doug as a man who’d felt a “spark of remorse.”

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 31, 2015 court recording): Certainly in 1985 Doug fell to the bottom, no question about it. But he has tried to climb up.

Dave Cawley: Michael asked the jury to return a sentence of life with the possibility of parole. Judge DiReda then turned to the issue of allocution. Allocution is an opportunity for a defendant to make a statement to a judge or jury ahead of sentencing. It’s a chance to show remorse, to apologize to the victims of the crime, to plead for a particular punishment. To show that “spark.”

Michael DiReda (from March 31, 2015 court recording): And if you were going to elect to make a statement in allocution, it has to be made at this juncture.

Dave Cawley: Allocution is not sworn testimony. It wouldn’t open Doug up to cross examination. It would simply allow him to speak in sincere terms to the jurors who would very soon decide if he should live or die.

Doug Lovell (from March 31, 2015 court recording): I will not be making a statement.

Michael DiReda (from March 31, 2015 court recording): Okay. I appreciate that.

Dave Cawley: And so, just before 3 p.m., the jury retired for a second time. This time, they began debating the question of Doug’s sentence.

Sandra Yi (from March 31, 2015 KSL TV archive): Those two options: death, or life in prison with the chance of parole. A unanimous vote is required for the death sentence. The jury has been deliberating for about three hours now.

Dave Cawley: Back in episode 9, I talked about how state death penalty laws changed in the 1970s, as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Those changes were meant to take bias out of the sentencing process in capital cases. Utah’s law required the jury in Doug’s case to consider aggravating and mitigating factors. Part of that calculation involved looking at seven instances of alleged criminal conduct for which Doug had not previously been convicted. The jurors would determine his guilt or innocence, then use those findings to help decide if the death penalty was warranted.

Here were the seven alleged crimes and the jury’s decisions on each.

For sexually assaulting Joyce Yost in her car the night of April 3, 1985, the jury found Doug guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You might recall, Doug had at first faced two counts of rape in ’85 but the sexual assault count which had sent him to prison was specific to what had occurred in his home. It had not covered the initial assault in Joyce’s car.

And speaking of what’d happened in Doug’s home, for forcing Joyce to perform oral sex there that night, the jury again found Doug guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime of sodomy. This count had been dropped from the case in ’85 over Joyce’s unwillingness to talk about those humiliating specifics.

The next special verdict form focused on the claim Doug had conspired with Billy Jack to murder Joyce. The jury found him guilty. Likewise, for conspiring with Tom Peters to do the same.

The jury also said Doug was guilty of tampering with Tom Peters as a witness in ’91, while they were both in prison, when Doug had given Tom that kiss on the top of the head.

The remaining two instances of uncharged crimes both arose from claims made by Jared Briggs. Jared had testified Doug had asked him to kill Tom Peters in 2007.

Gary Heward (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Did he ask you to do anything very specifically to Tom Peters?

Jared Briggs (from March 30, 2015 court recording): Yes, to get rid of him.

Dave Cawley: And Jared had told investigators Doug had once again sexually assaulted Joyce on the night of the murder.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 police recording): He said he just wanted to hurt her and, uh, so he said he sexually assaulted her when they got everything done.

Dave Cawley: For both of these alleged crimes, the jury said Doug’s guilt had not been proven. The decision suggested the jurors felt incertitude over Jared’s credibility. So, in total, the jury found Doug guilty on five of the seven instances of uncharged conduct.

Debating all of this had taken time and no one outside of the jury room had any idea just how much longer the sentencing decision might take. All Kim, Greg and the rest of Joyce’s family could do was wait.

Sandra Yi (from March 31, 1985 KSL TV archive): Yost’s family has been in the courtroom during this long trial. They told me they’ll make a statement after the jury reaches a decision.

Dave Cawley: Shortly after 9 p.m., Judge DiReda adjourned the court and sent the jury home. They returned the next morning to continue from where they’d left off the night before. Several more hours passed before, in the early afternoon, the jurors informed the bailiff they’d at last reached a decision. Once again, Doug stood while Judge DiReda read from the form provided by the jury.

Michael DiReda (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): We the jury in the above entitled case unanimously render a sentencing decision for death.

Dave Cawley: Death. The Weber County prosecutors had achieved that outcome twice in the same case, 22 years apart. First with a judge and now with a jury. Joyce’s children, Kim and Greg, felt relief.

Greg Roberts: I thought they frustrated Doug Lovell again. Big time.

Kim Salazar: Yeah.

Greg Roberts: I thought it was awesome.

Dave Cawley: Judge DiReda signed a warrant of execution bearing Doug’s name. It commanded the Utah Department of Corrections to end his life by lethal injection on May 29, 2015. This was formality because the judge next ordered a stay, putting the execution on indefinite hold pending an automatic appeal of the sentence required by state law.

Kim and Greg spoke to reporters outside the courtroom.

Greg Roberts (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): We think it’s just a very, very, very good day for Joyce and a good day for our family.

Sandra Yi (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): Relief for the children of Joyce Yost…

Kim Salazar (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): Until you’ve walked in these shoes, you just don’t have any idea how, how difficult it is to get through.

Sandra Yi (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): …who say Douglas Lovell deserves to be put to death for what he did to their mother in 1985.

Kim Salazar (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): The things that he did, incredible, horrible things to do to somebody that he didn’t know, that didn’t deserve it.

Dave Cawley: Defense attorney Michael Bouwhuis had made it out of the courthouse by the time those same TV cameras caught up with him in the parking lot.

Sandra Yi (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): Lovell’s attorney says Lovell hoped he would get out of prison one day.

Michael Bouwhuis (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): The hope was that they wouldn’t want to, to impose a death penalty and they’d go with life with the possibility.

Sandra Yi (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): Still, he doesn’t think Lovell, who is 57 years old, will ever be executed.

Michael Bouwhuis (from April 1, 2015 KSL TV archive): He’s looking at least 20 years before he runs out of appeals and probably longer than that.

Dave Cawley: This fact had not escaped Kim and Greg. In a sense, they were right back where they’d been in August of ’93.

Greg Roberts: It felt like it was too much square one.

Dave Cawley: As if to prove this point, Michael Bouwhuis filed a motion asking for a new trial.

Kim Salazar: Now you’re back to square one again. It’s all ahead of you now. The appellate process, the everything just starts over.

Dave Cawley: Michael cited five reasons why he thought Doug deserved one, all of them dealing with decisions made by Judge DiReda. They included DiReda’s refusal to sign off on the plea deal, to notify the jurors of the plea negotiations, to admit Doug’s many letters into evidence, permitting the testimony of Jared Briggs and the judge’s rejection of Doug’s pre-trial motions. Kim knew from experience this move asking for a new trial alone could result in years of legal delay.

Kim Salazar: But we have not moved an inch in all these years as far as the judicial process goes.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Doug’s other attorney Sean Young, submitted a sworn statement to the court several weeks later. In it, he made a rather stunning claim. Sean said the lawyers representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had interfered with the trial. Sean wrote that the church’s attorneys had shown up at the courthouse on the day those three bishops were set to testify and “threatened to interfere with the testimony” if he didn’t limit the scope of his questioning.

Judge DiReda denied the motion for a new trial. The verdict would stand. Unless, that is, Doug could once again win a reprieve from the Utah Supreme Court. For that, he would need a new lawyer.

The county also had to fund Doug’s appeal. So it tapped another of the attorneys it kept on contract for indigent defense work and signed him to a second contract devoted exclusively to the appeal. That attorney’s name was Samuel Newton.

Samuel went right to work and, on August 3, 2015, filed the appeal with the Utah Supreme Court. Doug’s appeal soon hit some road bumps. Samuel Newton struggled to get a complete copy of trial defense attorney Sean Young’s case files. He ended up pursuing a court order to force the issue, an effort that chewed up almost a year.

Samuel also started talking regularly with Doug, a fact Doug himself pointed out in a letter the Utah Supreme Court.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I have a great working relationship with Mr. Newton. I completely TRUST him with my life and in his judgment in doing what is best for my legal case going forward.

Dave Cawley: Samuel reached out to many of the people Doug had listed as possible character witnesses in the lead-up to the trial, trying to understand why so many of them had failed to show up and testify. What he heard, over and over again, was that they’d never been contacted by the trial defense team. Or, if they had, that the calls had been brief and superficial. Some told Samuel they would have happily testified, if they’d only been asked.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Mr. Young failed to contact over a dozen witnesses for the 2015 penalty phase. Once it was learned that Mr. Young failed to contact my character witnesses, Weber County terminated his contract solely because of my case.

Dave Cawley: In May of 2016, Samuel asked the Utah Supreme Court to send Doug’s appeal back to the trial court so they could get to the bottom of this. The Supreme Court agreed to the request in March of 2017. The high court’s order instructed the trial judge, Michael DiReda, to hold what’s known an evidentiary hearing.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): As for Mr. Bouwhuis, he was lead counsel in charge of Mr. Young. I believe the upcoming hearing will clearly show that Mr. Bouwhuis failed when it came to overseeing Mr. Young’s work.

Dave Cawley: Here were the questions Judge DiReda had to answer: Had Sean Young acted deficiently in failing to prepare several of Doug’s witnesses for their testimony? Was Sean Young deficient for failing to even call 14 of the potential witnesses Doug had identified? Had Sean Young’s cross-examination of Carl Jacobson been inadequate? Did Sean Young fail to properly prepare the defense team’s mitigation specialist, whose job it had been to research and make initial contact with many of these witnesses? Should Sean Young have raised an objection to the alleged interference of The Church’s lawyers? And, if the answer to any of these questions was yes, had that, in the end, prejudiced the jury?

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): The hearing will also show there was a lot of confusion and a complete lack of communication when it came to my character witnesses.

Dave Cawley: The sheer number of potential witnesses covered by the order meant the evidentiary hearing would likely take longer than had the entirety of Doug’s trial. The remand order instructed Judge DiReda to report his findings within 90 days. He didn’t meet that deadline. Not even close. Here’s why.

Appellate attorney Samuel Newton had, by the start of 2017, expended the $75,000 allotted by the county for the appeal. He anticipated the evidentiary hearing was going to require hundreds more hours of work. He began talking with county staff and commissioners about the need for additional funding.

The county suggested Samuel was overestimating the time required. They offered an additional $15,000, but also expressed skepticism over how much time he was spending communicating with Doug.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): For the first time, I got an attorney who represented me to the fullest, who knows my case inside and out and now the county has pulled the rug on funding him.

Dave Cawley: Samuel claimed in a sworn affidavit the county had refused to pay him $120,000 for work he’d done on a different death penalty appeal. That had caused stress which had in turn exacerbated a heart condition. This drew the Utah Attorney General’s Office into the funding dispute. In a letter, an AG’s Office staff member said Samuel had developed a conflict of interest: his health and Doug’s defense were now at odds.

In a court filing, Samuel referred to his situation as “involuntary pro-bono.” He asked Judge DiReda to intervene and force the county to pay, but DiReda declined, on the grounds it was a civil matter that didn’t fall within his jurisdiction. Doug argued to the contrary. In a letter to the court, he said his very Constitutional rights were at stake.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I have the right to effective assistance of counsel for my defense. And I had just that. I had an attorney who was competent, who actually read my entire file, who met regularly with me and who, I believe, had my best interests at heart.

Dave Cawley: Doug pointed out the county would have to hire another appellate attorney for him, if the court allowed Samuel to withdraw. That lawyer would start from scratch. The tens of thousands of dollars already spent on two years of Samuel’s work would be for nothing.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I ask this Court to PLEASE intervene & see to it that Mr. Newton will remain as lead counsel in my case going forward.

Dave Cawley: Judge DiReda released Samuel from the case at the end of August. This drew media coverage, including editorials scathing in their assessment of Weber County’s handling of the matter. The bad publicity didn’t help as the county sought to find another qualified attorney willing to take up Doug’s appeal. In fact, it could find only one: Colleen Coebergh. She signed a $100,000 contract with Weber County at the end of September.

Weeks later, the Weber County Commission sent Samuel a letter informing him the county was terminating his contracts. The commissioners accused Samuel of making untruthful comments to the media which had harmed the county’s reputation. Samuel struck back, filing a federal lawsuit against Weber County and its commissioners, accusing them of violating his First Amendment right to free speech. And none of this had much of anything to do with Joyce Yost, a fact that wasn’t lost on her children.

Greg Roberts: I think Doug Lovell likes the limelight. He likes the attention and that’s exactly how it plays out. … Especially over time, the victim becomes much less important—

Kim Salazar: The victim gets lost in it.

Greg Roberts: —this horrible perpetrator becomes the story. And it’s rough, it is difficult. That’s difficult. So—

Kim Salazar: I don’t see any remorse.

Ep 11: Rising Star

Theresa Rose Greaves’ life revolved around music.

Though described by her friends and acquaintances as quiet, shy and “emotionally immature” for her age, Theresa enjoyed connecting with other people through their shared passion for popular musical groups. Her favorites included The Oak Ridge Boys and The Osmonds.

Theresa Rose Greaves missing woman Utah
Woods Cross police were able to obtain only a small number of photos of Theresa Rose Greaves following her disappearance on August 5, 1983. Photo: Woods Cross, Utah police

On July 20, 1983, Theresa wrote a letter to a fellow member of The Oak Ridge Boys fan club, a stranger who’d previously written to her after seeing an ad she’d placed in the fan club’s newsletter.

“Like the ad in the newsletter said, I answer all,” Greaves wrote.

Exactly two weeks later, on August 3, 1983, Theresa would leave her rented room at a mobile home in the Salt Lake City suburb of Woods Cross. She wouldn’t be seen again until almost 32 years later, when on February 5, 2015 a man walking his dog along Mountain Road near the border of Farmington and Fruit Heights, Utah spotted her skull at the bottom of a wooded hill.


Theresa Rose Greaves cold case

The skull sat on a piece of unincorporated land, placing jurisdiction over the discovery in the hands of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives and crime scene technicians soon located a shallow gravesite at the top of the hill, which contained additional skeletal remains as well as clothing fragments. Coroners used dental records, which Theresa’s grandmother had provided to Woods Cross police in 1983, to identify the remains.

The discovery also added a significant new wrinkle to a decades-old mystery. The location and nature of the burial led Woods Cross police to reclassify Theresa’s disappearance from a missing persons case to an unsolved homicide. In the years that followed, detectives struggled to ascertain who killed Theresa and buried her on the hillside, a literal stone’s throw away from busy U.S. Highway 89.

Then and now: these two images show U.S. Highway 89 at the border of Farmington and Fruit Heights, Utah as it appeared in 2018 (left) and 1985 (right). The red x shows the approximate location of the gravesite where the remains of Theresa Greaves were recovered in February of 2015. Photos: U.S. Department of Agriculture (left), Idaho Air National Guard (right)

The recovery of Theresa’s remains in 2015 happened to occur just weeks before a man who’d killed a different woman — Joyce Yost — in 1985 was set to stand trial for capital murder.

Douglas Lovell had at one point during the early 1990s been a person of interest in the Greaves case as well, though detectives never found a connection between Lovell and Greaves. After being sentenced to death for capital murder in the Joyce Yost case in ’93, Doug had told a reporter he didn’t believe he knew anybody named Theresa.


Theresa Greaves move to Utah

Theresa had been born and raised in Woodlynne, a small New Jersey town between the cities of Camden and Collingswood, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Her birth mother had left Theresa as a baby, passing her off to be raised by her grandmother, Mary Greaves.

As a teenager in the 1970s, Theresa encountered missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and began attending church meetings. She met and befriended two other young women. One of them, Bo Colozzi, soon moved to Utah in order to be closer to the headquarters of the church.

Theresa followed suit soon after, in 1980, not only to immerse herself in Mormon culture but also to indulge her obsession with Donny Osmond. She drove her red Ford Mustang across the country with a friend, pulling a U-Haul trailer. Theresa had no family connections in Utah. She didn’t have much in the way of employment prospects there, either.

Woods Cross police records obtained by Cold through an open records request show Theresa lived upon arriving for a short time at an address near 5760 South 1150 East in South Ogden.

Theresa Greaves Utah driver license
Theresa Rose Greaves obtained a Utah driver license after moving to Utah from New Jersey in 1980.

Theresa obtained a Utah driver license in September of 1980. It listed her address as 3765 Harrison Boulevard, an apartment building just west of Weber State University.

One of Theresa’s friends soon began working for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Ogden. Theresa is believed to have spent time there as well, though investigators have had difficulty confirming that.


Theresa’s time in American Fork  

By August of 1981, Theresa had secured a job as a housekeeper at a motel in Provo, Utah. She and her friend Bo Colozzi relocated from the Ogden area to American Fork, where they each rented rooms in an apartment building at 159 West Main Street.

Friends would later recount that Theresa spent much of her free time staking out locations in nearby Orem, where The Osmonds were then operating a TV studio. She carried a camera, hoping to catch photos of the famous performing siblings.

Theresa Greaves Osmonds fan club
Theresa Greaves (left) spent free time in Utah engaged in fandom for The Osmonds, the family music group made famous by their appearances on The Andy Williams Show in the 1960s and ’70s. Photo: Woods Cross, Utah police

Her car soon broke down and she sold it, leaving her to rely on public transportation or rides from friends in order to get around.

Police records show that on August 6, 1981, Colozzi reported Theresa missing after Theresa and her roommate left their apartment with two men from South America who did not speak English. Colozzi told police Greaves had met the men at the Star Palace in Provo, a popular dance club frequented by students at nearby Brigham Young University.

Theresa returned to her apartment the following day, after being unaccounted for for more than 24 hours.


Theresa Greaves’ move to Woods Cross

Theresa at some point lost the job in Provo. She began receiving unemployment benefits and entered the job market.

In June of 1983, Theresa responded to a classified ad seeking a roommate. She rented a room in a mobile home at 620 South 900 West in Woods Cross, Utah. She also opened the P.O. Box at the Bountiful post office and continued her correspondence with fellow fans of The Osmonds and The Oak Ridge Boys.

“I needed a change, but I miss American Fork,” Theresa had written in her July 20, 1983 letter. “I’m unemployed but hope it won’t be that way much longer.”

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie… you can click here to download the PDF file.

Theresa Rose Greaves wrote this letter to a fellow fan of The Oak Ridge Boys on July 20, 1983, two weeks before she disappeared.

Theresa continued searching for steady work. Toward the end of July she responded to an ad placed by a doctor who was looking to hire a live-in babysitter. The doctor resided in the Bennion region of the Salt Lake Valley, in what’s now the city of Taylorsville.

Theresa had such high confidence she would receive the job that on August 1, 1983, she filled out a change of address form listing her potential employer’s home as her new mailing address.

Change of address form Bennion Utah
Theresa Rose Greaves filled out this change of address form days before she disappeared. She apparently believed she’d secured a live-in babysitting job in what’s now Taylorsville, Utah. She did not end up getting the job.

That job fell through, however. The doctor informed Theresa she would not be hired, but suggested she speak with another doctor who lived in the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City.


Bus trip to Salt Lake City

Theresa’s grandmother Mary Greaves, who lived in New Jersey, would later tell police she’d spoken to Theresa on the phone on the morning of August 5. Mary said Theresa had intended to take a bus from Woods Cross into Salt Lake City for a job interview.

Mary recalled Theresa mentioning “State Street,” which is a primary road that runs across the Salt Lake Valley. A detective’s notes also suggest Mary mentioned “job services,” a likely reference to the Utah Department of Employment Security where Theresa would’ve been visiting for updates on job opportunities.

Woods Cross police speak about the disappearance of Theresa Rose Greaves on August 5, 1983 in this news story from the archives of KSL TV.

Theresa’s roommate told police Theresa had called her at about 10 a.m. on August 5. The roommate, who was at work at the time at the University of Utah, said Theresa had planned to meet a couple at the Rodeway Inn in Salt Lake City that afternoon for an interview about a business opportunity.

It’s not clear if Theresa ever made it to the bus stop or to the supposed interview. When contacted by police, the second doctor with whom Greaves had spoken about a live-in babysitting job said he’d received a call from Theresa at about noon on August 5. He’d told her at that time he did not intend to hire her.

The doctor told police he did not know where Theresa was when she’d called him. That phone call was Theresa’s last known contact with anyone prior to her disappearance.


Theresa’s letters

Theresa’s roommate reported her missing on Sunday, August 7, 1983, two days after she was last seen.

Woods Cross police searched Theresa’s room at the mobile home in the days that followed. None of her personal property appeared to be missing, with the exception of a pair of beige heels, her purse and Theresa’s 1977 Collingswood High School class ring.

Police also learned that Theresa had visited her bank on the morning of August 5, depositing $98. There was no suspicious activity on the account after August 5. Theresa had possessed just $12 in cash at the time of her disappearance.

Theresa’s P.O. box continued to receive mail in her absence. Police collected those letters and wrote back to the people who’d written to Theresa, asking them to share any of their correspondence with her.

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie… you can click here to download the PDF file.

Woods Cross police mailed this letter to people whom Theresa Greaves had been writing, based on addresses they located among Theresa’s mail and personal belongings.

The people with whom Theresa had exchanged letters appeared primarily to be fans of The Oak Ridge Boys or The Osmonds who had provided their addresses in fan newsletters.

From the responses, investigators were able to learn Theresa typically opened her letters with “howdy.” She’d used the nickname “Resa.” She’d also tended to close her letters with music-related salutations, such as “sailing away” or “Oslove,” the latter in reference to The Osmonds.

Theresa Greaves letter
Woods Cross, Utah police reached out to people who’d been pen pals with Theresa Greaves following her in August of 1983. Some wrote back, expressing shock over learning she’d disappeared.

However, none of the pen pals were able to provide much in the way of information about Theresa’s life or, more importantly, her whereabouts.


The discovery

The investigation into Theresa’s disappearance sputtered out in the months that followed. Police had not uncovered any evidence of foul play, but also had no reason to believe Theresa had left of her own accord. Theresa’s grandmother, Mary Greaves, remained in touch with Woods Cross police for several years by way of occasional letters.

“I have not heard from anyone concerning the missing relative my granddaughter Theresa Rose Greaves so I guess neither have the Woods Cross Police,” Mary Greaves wrote in 1988, five years following Theresa’s disappearance.

Mary Greaves died in 1997. Police then lost touch with Theresa’s few remaining relatives. The investigation became a cold case and languished for decades, due to a lack of leads for police to follow. Woods Cross police re-opened the investigation in 2012 but soon bumped up against many of the same dead-ends that had hindered the case in 1983.

Then, on February 5, 2015, a man walking his dog spotted Theresa’s skull against the trunk of a tree on a hillside adjacent to U.S. Highway 89, pumping new life and urgency into the case.

Theresa Greaves skull
An evidence marker sits next to a human skull as Davis County search and rescue members and crime scene investigators search a hillside Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, for more evidence. The skull was later determined to be that of missing woman Theresa Rose Greaves. Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

In the years since the recovery of Theresa’s remains, Woods Cross police and the Davis County Sheriff’s Office have worked together to review the original work done in the case. They’ve re-interviewed witnesses, conducted forensic testing on evidence gathered from the gravesite and attempted to re-establish contact with Theresa’s family. Case records reviewed by Cold show police have investigated whether a suspected criminal syndicate being operated out of the Utah State Prison and a halfway house in Salt Lake City might be connected with Theresa’s disappearance.

Theresa’s missing class ring remains one major loose end in the investigation. If the ring was stolen and pawned, locating it would provide critical information.

Collingswood High School class ring 1977
Theresa Greaves’ 1977 Collingswood High School class ring has never been found. Theresa’s ring had a blue stone, unlike this yellow one owned by one of her classmates. Photo: Woods Cross, Utah police

Police are also still hoping to fill in gaps regarding her life in Utah between 1980 and 1983, including the times when she lived in Ogden and American Fork. They’re hopeful people who were fans of The Osmonds or The Oak Ridge Boys back in the early 1980s will search through their old fan club mailers.

“We are interested in talking to anyone who knew Theresa,” Woods Cross police Assistant Chief Adam Osoro said. “Even if they were a part of the Osmonds fan club and did correspond, please look through your old letters. It might be something very small that could help us in this case.”


Cold also reached out to Merrill Osmond, to share details of Theresa’s life and the plea for help from Woods Cross police. Merrill shared this message:

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Theresa Greaves. I understand Theresa had moved to Utah with many hopes and dreams but her life was tragically taken. … I will be reaching out to members of The Osmond Family to see if we can be of any help with the nationwide appeal. If you have any information please reach out to your local police department. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Theresa.

Merrill Osmond, Lead singer of The Osmonds

Find out how Joyce Yost’s family reacted to the discovery of Theresa’s remains in Cold episode 11: Rising Star.

Episode credits
Research, writing and hosting: Dave Cawley
Audio production: Nina Earnest
Audio mixing: Trent Sell
Additional voices: Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell), Annie Knox (as Theresa Greaves)
Cold main score composition: Michael Bahnmiller
Cold main score mixing: Dan Blanck
KSL executive producers: Sheryl Worsley, Keira Farrimond
Workhouse Media executive producers: Paul Anderson, Nick Panella, Andrew Greenwood
Amazon Music team: Morgan Jones, Eliza Mills, Vanessa Rebbert, Shea Simpson
Episode transcript: https://thecoldpodcast.com/season-2-transcript/rising-star-full-transcript/
KSL companion story: https://ksltv.com/463958/criminal-syndicate-in-utah-state-prison-may-have-played-role-in-theresa-greaves-murder/
Talking Cold companion episode: https://thecoldpodcast.com/talking-cold#tc-episode-11

Cold season 2, episode 11: Rising Star – Full episode transcript

Dave Cawley: Christmas Day, 2009 dawned cold and clear at Point of the Mountain. Doug Lovell wasn’t able to walk through the fresh snow that blanketed the prison yard. He couldn’t make a snowball or sit around a pine tree decked with lights, ornaments and tinsel, exchanging presents with his loved ones. Instead, Doug sat at his typewriter and pecked out a message.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): My name is Doug Lovell. I hope I have reached you all in good health and spirits.

Dave Cawley: He was writing to a group of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were serving in the Marshal Islands. Their mission president, who Doug knew, had asked him to provide the missionaries with an inspiring message.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I thought I would share with you something that has been extremely difficult for me to talk about since the death of my brother.

Dave Cawley: Doug wrote his brother, Royce, had been an A student who loved sports. He’d been an Eagle Scout and an active member of The Church. That’d changed when Royce developed a drug habit. Doug said said he and Royce had been very close.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): That all changed the day before he died. To this day, I have no idea what the reason was, but we got into a horrible argument. … I thought at any second the punch would come that would silence me. It never did. I don’t know why, but he just walked away.

Dave Cawley: Doug described getting the call at work and rushing home with his other brother, Russell, only to find Royce dead.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I remember opening the front door and seeing Royce lying on the living room floor.

Dave Cawley: He went on, writing that in the days and months after Royce’s death he’d felt regret for never telling his brother he’d loved him. He said he’d learned when you love someone, you should let them know.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I hope none of you will feel love for someone and risk losing them without ever having said these three simple words: I love you.

Dave Cawley: Nowhere in the letter did Doug acknowledge why he was in prison. He didn’t tell the missionaries how his own actions had deprived Joyce Yost of spending that same cold Christmas Day with her own children and grandchildren, showering them with the love they deserved.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I wish you all good health and happiness throughout the 2010 year. Take good care and let us all find a way to live and be more Christlike in our daily lives.

Dave Cawley: This is Cold, season 2, episode 11: Rising Star. From KSL Podcasts, I’m Dave Cawley. More after the break.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: PBS aired a documentary in July of 2007 called “Breaking the Curse.” It profiled a woman named Becky Douglas. Becky was an Atlanta housewife who, after losing a daughter, began doing charity work combating leprosy in India. Becky had founded a non-profit called Rising Star Outreach. Doug Lovell saw the documentary. He wrote a letter to Becky, asking if he could contribute to Rising Star. He didn’t have much to offer. His only income came from delivering food trays to other inmates…

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I earn 40 cents an hour for a grand total of less than $30.00 a month.

Dave Cawley: …but Doug told Becky he wanted to donate $5 a month to her cause. Becky was touched. She wrote back to Doug. He replied to her response and they soon became pen pals. Becky didn’t know the details of Doug’s crime, but found him in his letters to be intelligent, remorseful and, she thought, even repentant. She noticed his $5 checks, arriving without fail month after month. It seemed to her a significant sacrifice for a man of such limited means.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I’m locked-up 21 hours a day. Only during my out-of-cell time can I make phone calls, shower, play games, or go outside. The outside yard is very small: 10 feet x 20 feet x 28 feet high: all concrete.

Dave Cawley: Becky came to think of Doug as a friend. He even invited her to visit him at the prison, which she did in 2012. They sat and talked, separated by glass, for four hours. Doug had been raised in a religious household. Both of his parents were, like Becky, devout members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or as they’re more commonly known, Mormons.

But Doug hadn’t seemed to have much interest in religion himself for much of his life. That had changed in 2003, right around the time his appeal to the Utah Supreme Court over the effort to withdraw his guilty plea was getting underway. That’s when Doug started meeting with a Latter-day Saint bishop named John Newton.

The Church maintained a presence at the prison and Doug had discovered he was able to leave his cell for extended conversations with Bishop Newton every Sunday.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Whenever I leave my section, I am handcuffed behind my back and my legs are shackled. I’m allowed one 2-hour visit each weekend; all visits are non-contact. I have not touched a loved one since I received the death penalty.

Dave Cawley: Bishops in the Mormon tradition are not professional clergy. They have jobs and families and serve on a volunteer basis. The bishops assigned to the prison’s death row unit rotated every few years. When John Newton departed in 2005, Doug continued meeting with his replacement: a man named Brent Scharman.

Brent was a PhD-level psychologist who’d spent his career providing counseling through LDS Family Services, a church-owned non-profit behavioral health provider. Brent’s wife Janet was Vice President of Student Life at Brigham Young University, the church’s premier private school. Doug had never finished high school. But the Scharmans pulled strings to get him enrolled in correspondence courses through BYU.

That wasn’t the only opportunity provided Doug through his new connections. This comes from the news archives of KSL TV.

Tonya Papanikolas (from November 2, 2012 KSL TV archive): Not everyone gets to peruse family documents in foreign archives.

Olaf Zander (from November 2, 2012 KSL TV archive): We enable people to make searches for family history.

Tonya Papanikolas (from November 2, 2012 KSL TV archive): Enter the LDS Church. It sponsors a non-profit family history organization called FamilySearch.

Dave Cawley: FamilySearch is a digital genealogical repository…

Tonya Papanikolas (from November 2, 2012 KSL TV archive): Which boasts the largest collection of family history records in the world.

Dave Cawley: It includes billions of images of historical documents gathered from around the globe.

Tonya Papanikolas (from November 2, 2012 KSL TV archive): Those images are then sent to Salt Lake City and within a month the records are published on FamilySearch.org.

Dave Cawley: But not before the names, dates and places are transcribed by volunteers, including some Utah State Prison inmates. Doug wasn’t eligible to take part in that work because he lived in maximum security, with no access to the computer lab. He petitioned prison staff to make an exception and, after some deliberation, they agreed to let him use a laptop for the genealogy work.

The man overseeing the inmate volunteers on behalf of The Church at the time was a missionary named Gary Webster. Gary had a long history with the prison. He’d first started working there in the late ’60s, while pursuing his Masters Degree in social work. In the late ’70s Gary had taken a job with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. He’d been the board’s executive secretary in August of ’80, at the time of Doug’s parole hearing in the armed robbery case. Gary’s signature is on the paperwork that allowed Doug to walk free in ’82, after he’d served just half of the minimum term.

Gary had been on the parole board when Ogden Hi-Fi Shop killer Dale Selby Pierre — who I mentioned in episode 9 — came up for a clemency hearing ahead of his execution.

John Hollenhorst (from August 2, 1987 KSL TV archive): Selby almost always avoided eye contact during his hearing before the board of pardons he stared at the table or the floor when addressing board members. The only time he showed strong emotion during the two-day hearing was when he described almost daily beatings during his childhood, many for just minor infractions.

Dave Cawley: Selby, who was Black, had found religion in prison. He’d connected with a Catholic priest.

??? (from August 2, 1987 KSL TV archive): Selby, he says, studied the life of St. Augustine, a 4th century Christian who repented after a life of debauchery.

Dave Cawley: He’d said he was no longer the same man who’d killed three people in the basement of the Hi-Fi Shop.

Pierre Dale Selby (from August 2, 1987 KSL TV archive): This individual will not, or is not capable of doing the deeds that I did in 1974.

Dave Cawley: Gary, who is white, had not been swayed. He’d voted in favor of execution. Two decades later, Gary received a calling from The Church of Jesus Christ to replace Brent Scharman as bishop over Uinta 1 at the Utah State Prison. He began meeting with Doug Lovell, failing to piece together that they’d met before.

In their talks, Doug told Gary he hoped to be re-sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Even if the parole board never let him out of prison, he would at least be moved from maximum security back into general population. Gary believed Doug exhibited genuine remorse. He was likewise impressed by Doug’s philanthropic efforts, which included writing many letters, like this one to a group of teenage Latter-day Saints.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Before coming to prison, I became a bit of a lost soul. I made horrible choices in my life that have had a deep, negative impact on many lives.

Dave Cawley: Doug had grown prolific with these epistles.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I had a lot of anger and frustration built up inside me. And all too often guys like me have a hard time expressing their thoughts and feelings because it’s not a ‘guy thing’ to do. Big mistake.

Dave Cawley: He often extolled the virtues of therapy, talking about how it had helped him change from the disturbed man he’d once been.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Even after 22 years in prison, I still get teary-eyed when I reflect on the things I’ve done.

Dave Cawley: What those “things” were, he didn’t bother to say.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I hope you will love, respect and value life and family. Family is an absolute treasure that is all too often misplaced. My mom died in 1991. I was unable to attend her funeral. She and I were always very close and to this day it still tugs at my heart that I was not there for her.

Dave Cawley: Gary at one point learned The Church had never taken disciplinary action against Doug over the rape or murder of Joyce Yost. He convened a priesthood council, which resulted in Doug’s excommunication. Doug was kicked out of the church into which he’d been baptized as a child.

Doug seemed to take his excommunication in stride, not giving up on his charitable efforts. He even wrote to prison warden Steven Turley in August of 2011 to propose a partnership between The Church and the inmates of Uinta 1.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Over the many years, the LDS church has encouraged members to get involved in service projects. Living in a maximum security building, it has been difficult finding a service project the Church would support and one that would not be a security risk to the prison.

Dave Cawley: Doug said he’d come up with one, in which he and other inmates would assemble humanitarian aid kits using materials provided by The Church.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): This humanitarian service project would not only benefit children around the world, but it would also be a value to us in being able to give back to society and give us a real and needed sense of self worth.

Dave Cawley: This proposal went nowhere. The Church already operated its own humanitarian aid organization. It informed Doug his offer was appreciated but not necessary.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Doug’s proposal for that humanitarian aid kit project just happened to come on the heels of his victory at the Utah Supreme Court, which I detailed in the last episode. The high court had cleared the way for Doug to formally withdraw his guilty plea to the murder of Joyce Yost. 

Kim Salazar: It’s not right what happens to people. You’re caught up in this mess and you can’t, you can’t stop it.

Dave Cawley: That had set the stage for a new trial.

Kim Salazar: The system has so many, many flaws.

Dave Cawley: Joyce’s children Kim Salazar and Greg Roberts, through their attorney, pressed the court to make that happen sooner rather than later.

Kim Salazar: Do it, do it, do it.

Dave Cawley: Judge Michael Lyon scheduled the trial for February of 2014. But first things first. Doug needed a new attorney. He’d been living on death row for nearly 20 years and had no financial resources to speak of. As a result, the court appointed him a public defender.

Defense attorneys in capital cases have to meet certain requirements to make sure defendants accused of death penalty crimes — where their very lives are on the line — have competent and experienced representation. In Utah, this is called “Rule 8.” Weber County, where Doug was charged, maintained individual contracts with a small number of public defenders. Only a couple were Rule 8 certified. One was named Michael Bouwhuis.

Judge Lyon assigned Michael to Doug’s case, along with a second attorney named Sean Young. They went to work beginning in August of  2011. Michael visited Doug at the prison and spoke to him several times a month by telephone. They exchanged letters, right up until May of 2012, when Doug stopped responding.

Doug soon told Michael he didn’t want to work with him any longer and asked to have another attorney appointed. But Doug also told the court he had a longstanding beef with the only other Rule 8 certified public defender in Weber County at that time.

Michael kept working. He filed a motion, at Doug’s urging, to have Judge Lyon disqualified from the case. This was due to a few passing comments the judge had made during a hearing in 2006. Judge Lyon had said Joyce’s family deserved closure. Michael Bouwhuis suggested this proved bias on the part of the judge. Another judge reviewed that argument and rejected it.

No sooner had that happened, than Doug dashed off a letter to Judge Lyon. Here’s what he wrote.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): During the last few months, the relationship between Mr. Bouwhuis and I has reached a point of complete and utter breakdown in communication and trust. It is quite obvious he and I cannot work together.

Dave Cawley: Judge Lyon denied Doug’s request for a new attorney. He told Michael to go down to the prison and work things out. Instead, Doug wrote another letter, this time to the Utah Supreme Court.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): When I went to court on August 9 to argue against my lead attorney, the courtroom was packed. To say the least, it was an extremely difficult and intimidating experience! To stand there handcuffed behind my back, in front of all those people and argue, not only against my lead attorney but also to an unsympathetic and clearly biased judge and two prosecutors was very nerve-wracking.

Dave Cawley: This coming from a person who had in the past sat on the witness stand in open court and described how he’d raped, kidnapped and murdered a woman.

Doug told the high court he just wanted a new attorney, qualified or not. He also revived his argument that Judge Lyon was biased.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Three hearings were held in Judge Lyon’s court where it was made clear that Ms. Yost’s family wanted nothing but the death penalty for me. Ten years later, during two hearings in April of 2006, Judge Lyon made comments … that things had been going on long enough and the victim’s family needed their closure. Closure for the family could only mean one thing: for me to be put to death.

Dave Cawley: The final paragraph of this letter seemed almost prophetic.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I bring these issues to the Court’s attention now in hopes that we are not addressing them 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

Dave Cawley: In the months that followed, Doug continued sending letters to Judge Lyon, insisting he’d fired Michael Bouwhuis.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): This court has no right to force Mr. Bouwhuis to represent me! He and I clearly have irreconcilable difference, communication problems and I do not trust him! To have Mr. Bouwhuis represent me would be no different than having the prosecutor represent me.

Dave Cawley: Neither Judge Lyon nor the Utah Supreme Court were persuaded. Doug would keep his attorney. The prosecution lost one of its attorneys though during the summer of 2013. Bill Daines, who’d led the case against Doug for more than 20 years, died as a result of a brain aneurysm.

Greg Roberts told me Bill’s knowledge of the case had been encyclopedic…

Greg Roberts: That’s what we felt like we lost there with Bill Daines.

Dave Cawley: …and his death so soon before the trial shifted a significant burden onto the shoulders of the second prosecuting attorney, Gary Heward. Like Bill, Gary had been on the case since the early ‘90s.

Kim Salazar: He was just a young law clerk when this all first started. This was like the first big thing that happened in his career.

Dave Cawley: I should note, the Weber County Attorney’s Office refused to give Gary clearance to interview for this podcast. Gary was headed for retirement but assured Kim and Greg he would not abandon them.

Kim Salazar: He’ll be there. He will be there to see this thing through for as long as he possibly can. I have no doubt about that.

Dave Cawley: Another setback was coming. Judge Lyon retired from the bench of Utah’s Second District Court in November of 2013.

Like prosecutor Gary Heward, Michael Lyon offered to continue on with the case after his retirement, due to its complicated history. But the presiding judge decided instead to reassign it. So the case against Doug Lovell, which had already been handed off once, ended up before a third judge: a man named Michael DiReda.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: The handoff of the case just months before the scheduled trial caused problems. Judge DiReda acknowledged he needed more time to get up to speed. He pushed the date of the trial back from February to August. Then again, to March of 2015. So much for the speedy trial Kim Salazar had requested.

Kim Salazar: We’ve never gotten anything speedy.

Dave Cawley: The delays had an impact on Doug’s side as well. His father Monan died as a result of pneumonia and heart failure on March 11, 2014.

The case continued to grind on, as the court dealt with several issues. The first involved money.

Capital cases had evolved since ’93. Defense attorneys in capital cases had come to rely on forensic psychologists, investigators and mitigation specialists. Doug’s defense team asked the court for permission to hire all three.

The psychologist would evaluate Doug to determine if any mental or psychological issues were at play. The mitigation specialist — an expert skilled at digging deep into a person’s past — would try to uncover any evidence that might help explain Doug’s actions. And the investigator would search for flaws in the police work.

Weber County would have to foot the bill for these services, since Doug was indigent, and balked at the additional expense.

Then, there were the pretrial motions. Doug’s lawyers filed a flurry of them, the most consequential focusing on Rhonda.

Rhonda Buttars (from May, 1991 phone call recording): Hi.

Doug Lovell (from May, 1991 phone call recording): How you doing?

Rhonda Buttars (from May, 1991 phone call recording): Mmm, hanging in there.

Dave Cawley: The defense sought to keep as much of Rhonda’s testimony out of the trial as possible. They attacked her on two fronts.

First, they argued conversations she and Doug had shared while married were protected under what’s known as spousal privilege. This legal concept says what you tell your spouse in private can’t be used against you in court. But, of course, there are exceptions.

Utah law says spousal privilege doesn’t apply when the comments are made in furtherance of a crime. So, soliciting your spouse’s help to carry out or cover up a murder isn’t protected.

Spousal privilege also might not apply to anything Doug and Rhonda discussed after they were divorced. Like, say, when Rhonda had visited Doug at the prison while wearing the wire.

Rhonda Buttars (from January 18, 1992 wire recording): I hate court.

Doug Lovell (from January 18, 1992 wire recording): I know it, Rhonda, I do too. I do too. Umm, this is gonna be a battle. Ah, it could go several days.

Rhonda Buttars (from January 18, 1992 wire recording): That doesn’t mean that I have to go every day, does it?

Dave Cawley: Second, Doug’s lawyers argued during those two visits by Rhonda, she’d been acting as an agent of the state. They said this had violated Doug’s constitutional rights, as he’d previously invoked his right to remain silent.

Judge DiReda didn’t bite. He ruled against the spousal privilege argument in all but one instance, meaning most of Rhonda’s testimony would be permitted at the trial.

The one comment he refused to allow was one Rhonda had made when describing the night Doug was arrested for DUI while driving toward Joyce’s apartment with a loaded handgun.

Rhonda had said Doug told her that night “I am going to kill Joyce.”

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Doug provided his defense team with a list of people he believed might testify on his behalf. They included Becky Douglas, head of the charity Rising Star Outreach, as well as the four bishops who I mentioned earlier.

Also on the list were several prison guards and social workers, former inmates and even the attorney who’d helped Doug arrange visitation with his son in the late ‘90s.

The defense’s mitigation specialist began working through the list, making initial contact and screening the potential witnesses. Michael Bouwhuis, as lead attorney, assigned Sean Young responsibility for following up with several of them.

Meanwhile, Joyce’s children, Kim Salazar and Greg Roberts, told the prosecutors they still wanted the death penalty…

Greg Roberts: I’m a hundred percent for the death penalty.

Dave Cawley: …but it wasn’t really up to them.

Greg Roberts: We’re just dealing with kind of the hand we’re dealt.

Dave Cawley: A sort of loophole allowed Doug a choice. If convicted, he had the option of being sentenced under the current law — which would include possible sentences of life, life without parole or death — or he could be sentenced under the law that’d been in place at the time of the crime in ’85.

Kim Salazar: Life without the possibility of parole was never on the table. That wasn’t even a thing yet.

Dave Cawley: Going with the old law would be a big gamble. Doug went all in. He chose the old law, meaning the only sentencing options would life with the chance of parole or death. He did not intend to live the rest of his life in prison.

Kim Salazar: I don’t know, is it worse to just be caged up like an animal for the rest of your life or to die for what you’ve done? Y’know? To take the hand you were dealt, y’know? We didn’t ask to be dealt this hand.

Dave Cawley: Doug also faced another choice: whether to have the judge or the jury decide his sentence. He’d gone the judge route in ’93 and received death.

The jury would have to be unanimous in selecting death, otherwise Doug would get life and a chance of someday securing his freedom. Doug wanted the jury, wagering he would be able to win over at least one juror.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: If you leave South Ogden — where Joyce Yost once lived — headed south toward Salt Lake City on U.S. Highway 89, you’ll pass through a small community called Fruit Heights. This place nestled at the foot of Wasatch Mountains was once covered in cherry orchards. Nowadays, many of those orchards have become subdivisions, filling the town’s two square miles with single-family homes. But in the early ‘80s, much of that land was still undeveloped.

At the far southern tip of town, along the border with the neighboring city of Farmington, the highway passes an RV campground and waterpark called Cherry Hill. On the opposite side of that highway sits a frontage road and a narrow strip of undeveloped land covered in thick brush.

(Sound of traffic and man walking through weeds)

Dave Cawley: And that’s where, on the afternoon of February 5, 2015, a man walking his dog noticed something out of place. It was white and round, sitting against the base of a tree at the bottom of a hill. The curious dog-walker stepped off the sidewalk and into the brush to get a closer look. Then, he pulled out his phone and called 911.

A Farmington police officer arrived first, followed by a detective and the Davis County Sheriff’s Office forensics unit. They established a perimeter, stringing up yellow crime scene tape around the object: a human skull.

News reporters showed up soon afterward. A sheriff’s sergeant fielded their questions.

DeAnn Servey (from February 5, 2015 KSL TV archive): Especially with it being along the hillside, you don’t know if an animal could have brought it from a different location. There’s so many factors that we’re going to try to piece together and find the origin of this skull.

Dave Cawley: Sunset comes early to Utah in the winter and daylight was already fading. The investigators brought in a cadaver dog at first light the next morning, but failed to find anything. They next set up search lanes — sort of like lap lanes in a swimming pool —  by stretching crime scene tape from the road all the way up the wooded hill.

While doing this, one of the officers noticed something sticking out of the ground uphill from where the skull sat. It appeared to be cloth. Tugging at it resulted in something else coming out of the ground: bone. People living at the top of the hill, on Farmington’s Kingston Road, were stunned.

Resident (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): For something to be there for a long period of time seems unlikely.

Dave Cawley: The detectives located ribs, vertebra and scraps clothing in a small depression that appeared to have been a grave, just feet away from the back property line of one of those houses. It was so close that in the summer, the people living there had been unknowingly tossing their lawn clippings onto the gravesite.

The detectives sent photos of the bones to a forensic anthropologist who said they were definitely human.

Resident (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): Y’know, obviously there could have been there and could have been there for quite a while and hidden by all the debris, the leaves and stuff.

Dave Cawley: The bones were modern, not from a pioneer-era grave or an indigenous people’s burial site. The detectives began a meticulous scouring of the scene, working along those search lanes.

DeAnn Servey (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): The detectives and the search party is literally on their hands and knees combing through the debris of the hillside with their hands.

Dave Cawley: They swept away dead leaves and grass, looking for the tiniest bit of thread or chip of bone. They planted little flags any place they found something.

Cara Baldwin (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): I was watching them earlier and they were sticking those little yellow, like, sprinkler flags in the ground everywhere and I’m like ‘why are they all the way up here?

Dave Cawley: Cara Baldwin watched from her back yard at the top of the hill.

Cara Baldwin (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): It’s like 10 feet away from where the back of the yard starts.

Ashley Kewish (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): Cara Baldwin has been in her Fruit Heights home for four years and lived in the area most her life.

Cara Baldwin (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): When I was in high school, that used to be a pond, before they built the frontage road right there and kids used to joke that people stashed bodies in that pond, but it was like an urban legend when you’re in high school.

Dave Cawley: Toward the end of the second day, a detective collected the skull from where it still sat at the base of the tree. On the third day, the searchers established a grid over the gravesite. They brought in surveying tools to take precise measurements. They donned Tyvek suits — to avoid contaminating the scene — and began excavating.

They removed no more than an inch of soil at a time, moving the dirt into five-gallon buckets which were then sifted. They worked around the exposed bones, digging layer by layer, expanding outward in an effort to find the the original cut, or wall, of the grave.

Randy Salazar saw the news reports and drove down to Fruit Heights to observe this work firsthand.

Randy Salazar: (Finger snaps) First thing, y’know, I always, I always think of Joyce.

Dave Cawley: The forensics team excavated so far down that the bones and clothing were left standing in what they described as a “pedestal” of dirt. They undercut the pedestal, allowing the half-buried bones to come loose. They were then able to collect them and take them to the Office of the Utah Medical Examiner.

The ME faced a difficult task: determining who this person was and how long he, or she, had been buried on the side of that hill.

DeAnn Servey (from February 6, 2015 KSL TV archive): It is an opportunity to hopefully find this person and figure out if we can solve a missing case.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: Seating a jury for Doug Lovell’s capital murder trial proved no small task. The court screened from a pool of 200 potential jurors, seeking just 12. That process was to begin on Monday, March 9. But Doug’s defense team and the Weber County prosecutors signed an agreement on the Friday prior. It said Doug was going to plead guilty.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Randy Salazar: How the hell is he so slick that he does that stuff?

Dave Cawley: The strategy seemed all too familiar to Joyce’s family. Greg Roberts had seen prosecutors offer an olive branch to Doug once before, when Doug had promised to lead police to his mother’s remains.

Greg Roberts: But you could tell he wasn’t going to. So, it just became like our decision was made. Y’know let’s, let’s just go for the death penalty.

Dave Cawley: Greg told me that back ’93, no one had warned him a death verdict would tie his family to Doug’s case through decades of appeals.

Greg Roberts: I didn’t understand that at the time. Obviously, I fully understand it now.

Dave Cawley: The nature of the proposed plea deal was a bit different this time around, considering Doug no longer had the bargaining chip of returning Joyce’s body. 

He intended to enter what’s known as a conditional guilty plea. He would admit to the crime but in exchange, would reserve the right to appeal all of Judge Michael DiReda’s decisions regarding his pre-trial motions. The judge had some concerns about this. The way the rules surrounding conditional guilty pleas were worded made it likely if any appeals court reached a different conclusion than he had on any issue — no matter how minor — Doug would be able to withdraw the plea. Again.

It felt to Kim Salazar not like an honest attempt by Doug to come clean, but instead part of a ploy, a delay tactic.

Kim Salazar: He still shows up in court as smug as he can be and still is more worried about fighting for his own life.

Dave Cawley: Judge DiReda called the proposed deal “ill-conceived, ill-advised and ill-timed.” He refused to accept it. This put Doug in a strange position. His lawyer, Michael Bouwhuis, did not intend to claim Doug’s innocence, because the evidence proving Doug had killed Joyce was by that point overwhelming and irrefutable. The defense’s entire focus would be the trial’s penalty phase, where they would try to show Doug was changed man who’d undergone a religious epiphany and was thus deserving of a chance for parole.

They couldn’t get to the penalty phase though without first going through the guilt phase, where it would be clear to the jury Doug had pleaded not guilty to a crime he didn’t actually contest committing. In a court filing, Michael Bouwhuis said the jury was likely to think Doug was playing games, wasting their time. He wanted the jurors informed of the failed plea attempt. Judge DiReda refused this, too.

One other little thing I should mention: as the prosecution and defense were vetting potential jurors, Doug informed Michael Bouwhuis not once but twice that he found particular women who’d been summoned for jury duty attractive. Doug asked his attorney to pass that message along to the women themselves.

His willingness to express physical interest in this context, to not one but two separate women, raised serious concerns.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: South Ogden police sent a copy of Joyce Yost’s dental records to the Office of the Utah Medical Examiner in the days following the discovery of that shallow grave on a hillside along U.S. Highway 89. They weren’t alone.

Adam Osoro: Investigators all over the state were scrambling to check their old, uh, y’know, their old case files and their evidence rooms for anything that may help identify these bones that were found in Fruit Heights.

Dave Cawley: That’s Adam Osoro, assistant police chief for the city of Woods Cross, a suburb just north of Salt Lake City. He was, at the time, a detective assigned to a missing person’s cold case from 1983.

Adam Osoro: Every detective that has a cold case is really hoping that any remains will be their missing person.

Dave Cawley: The Davis County Sheriff’s Office scheduled a press conference, as jury selection continued in Doug Lovell’s murder trial.

Mike Headrick (from March 13, 2015 KSL TV archive): Today detectives announced that they identified those human remains found along Highway 89 in Fruit Heights. Mike Anderson joins us live tonight with more. Mike?

Dave Cawley: Randy Salazar called his daughters and told them to go sit with their mother, Kim, just in case word came that the bones belonged to Joyce.

Randy Salazar: I know she wants closure one day. And I pray to God that, that her and Greg get that one day.

Dave Cawley: This was not that day. The bones excavated from that hillside belonged not to Joyce, but instead to a young woman named Theresa Rose Greaves. The dental records Woods Cross detective Adam Osoro had provided matched.

Adam Osoro: Y’know, there’s, it’s not just one match. It’s multiple teeth in multiple areas. So there, we were pretty confident that Theresa had been found.

Dave Cawley: It’s been six years now since the discovery of Theresa’s remains. At the time I’m recording this in 2021, her case remains an unsolved homicide.

Adam Osoro: She needs people to speak for her, especially now, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do.

Dave Cawley: So let’s pause from Joyce’s story for a moment to talk about Theresa Greaves. Theresa grew up in Camden County, New Jersey, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Her mom wasn’t in the picture long, so Theresa lived with her grandmother during her early years.

As a teen Theresa attended Collingswood High School. Theresa’s life — and the lives of her high school friends — had seemed to revolve around music.

Adam Osoro: They were big into music back then.

Dave Cawley: They loved The Oak Ridge Boys and, perhaps most of all… 

Adam Osoro: They loved the Osmonds.

(Audio of The Osmonds)

Dave Cawley: For the uninitiated, The Osmonds were like Utah’s version of the Jackson 5. The Osmonds had started out as a quartet, composed of young brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay, who sang barbershop. They’d had their big break in the early ‘60s on The Andy Williams Show, a variety show broadcast on NBC. The group had soon grown to include another brother: teen heart-throb Donny.

(Audio of The Osmonds)

By the early ’70s, the Osmonds had expanded beyond barbershop into rock and pop. Their popularity skyrocketed, so much so that they even briefly had their own Saturday morning cartoon.

(Audio of The Osmonds cartoon intro)

By the late ‘70s Donny Osmond and his sister Marie were each on the verge of launching their own solo careers. Theresa, like so many other teen girls of the time, had a huge crush on Donny.

Adam Osoro: She shared a lot of correspondence with a lot of other fans and it was quite obvious that she was a big fan.

Dave Cawley: Theresa graduated high school in ’77 and around that time met a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Adam Osoro: That, along with her interest in the music, the Osmonds, is ultimately why she chose to come to Utah.

Dave Cawley: A couple of Theresa’s classmates made the move from Jersey to Utah with her. From there, the trail grows a bit murky.

Adam Osoro: It’s become difficult to pin down exactly where she was and when.

Dave Cawley: One of Theresa’s friends took a job at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Ogden in 1981. Theresa followed that friend to Ogden and possibly spent time working at the school herself.

Adam Osoro: She briefly attended Weber State University. Lived at some of the dorms across the street from campus.

Dave Cawley: I can tell you Theresa briefly lived with one of those friends in American Fork, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City. She got a job as a housekeeper at a motel in the nearby city of Provo.

Theresa considered herself an amateur photographer. She was known to park outside the home of the Osmonds, hoping to snap photos of the famous brothers. She often attended concerts for the bands she loved, where she met and mingled with other fans.

Adam Osoro: We were able to obtain quite a few letters that she had written. Strangers, really, I mean, these were people that she’d never met in person that were also Osmond fans…

Annie Knox (as Theresa Greaves): Howdy! Received your letter the other day, thanks for writing. Like the ad in the newsletter said, I answer all. … The more the merrier.

Dave Cawley: Those are Theresa’s own words, though not her actual voice, taken from one of her letters, written just weeks before she disappeared. The letter has never been made public before now.

Annie Knox (as Theresa Greaves): I’m originally from New Jersey, a little town called Woodlynne. It’s outside of Camden and Collingswood. I moved out here just about three years ago and like here a lot.

Adam Osoro: When someone would write her a letter, she would take the time to write them back and often kept correspondence with people for months.

Annie Knox (as Theresa Greaves): I’ve been an Oak fan for 4 years. Richard has been my favorite always, too. It was his bass voice that attracted me to the Oaks.

Dave Cawley: Theresa often signed her letters “Sailing away, Resa.”

Adam Osoro: Y’know, back then, she liked to use the nickname Resa — R-E-S-A — for Theresa, Theresa Greaves.

Annie Knox (as Theresa Greaves): As you know my name is Theresa. Friends call me “Resa” so feel free to do so. And that I’m 23 years old. I’ll be 24 on October 1st.

Dave Cawley: Life wasn’t just freewheeling fun for Theresa in Utah.

Annie Knox (as Theresa Greaves): As I’m sure you know from the address on the envelope, I moved up here to Woods Cross the first of June. I needed a change, but miss American Fork. … I’m unemployed but hope it won’t be that way much longer.

Dave Cawley: Her Ford Mustang had broken down not long after the move, leaving Theresa without her own car. She struggled to set down roots and find steady work.

Adam Osoro: Ended up renting a bedroom in a trailer home in Woods Cross in 1983 and she’d only lived in our city approximately two months before she went missing.

Dave Cawley: On the morning of Friday, August 5, 1983, Theresa walked from the trailer home to the post office to get her mail from her P.O. Box. She stopped by the bank and deposited $98 — all of her money, save $12 — and then returned home.

She called her grandmother back in New Jersey, saying she planned to take a bus into downtown Salt Lake City. It’s not clear if Theresa ever made it to the bus. Her family never heard from her again.

Theresa’s roommate — who’d only known her a few weeks — reported her missing to Woods Cross police a couple of days later. Officers started a search but soon hit a dead-end. They then turned to the media.

Woods Cross officer (from August 24, 1983 KSL TV archive): We suspect possible foul play because she’s been gone with no contact with any known source. She has left all her personal belongings, uh, at the trailer. She has withdrawn no money from her bank account. She uh, was on unemployment but has not collected her check since she’s been missing and her post office box has not been touched.

Dave Cawley: Theresa’s grandmother back in New Jersey provided police with her dental records, never imagining they would come in handy more than 30 years later. But by the time of Theresa’s recovery in 2015, all of her immediate family members were likewise deceased. The investigators couldn’t find a single close relative left alive to inform.

DeAnn Servey (from March 13, 2015 KSL TV archive): There’s a lot of details that we have to do a lot of research on. So we are treating this with a lot of sensitivity. We are treating this as a homicide. And we are following every lead with, with a lot of passion so that we can find exactly what happened to Theresa on that hillside.

Dave Cawley: The discovery of Theresa’s remains breathed new life into her cold case. But even with all that fresh effort and publicity, police are still not sure who killed her or why.

Adam Osoro: We know that somebody’s out there, somebody out there caused her harm and it’s our job to identify who that person is and make them face, face the consequences of what they’ve done.

Dave Cawley: They’re still trying to find anyone who had contact with Theresa back in the early ‘80s, either at a church meeting, at a concert, at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, or even in an Osmonds fan club.

Adam Osoro: Please look through your old letters. It might be something very small that could help us in this case.

Dave Cawley: They’re also trying to find an important missing piece of the puzzle: Theresa’s 1977 Collingswood High School class ring. It was missing from her room in 1983 and was not with her remains in 2015.

Doug Lovell was, at one point, a person of interest in Theresa’s case, a fact made plain by the discovery of her remains on that hillside.

Mike Anderson (from March 13, 2015 KSL TV archive): Where this starts to get even more interesting is police initially questioned Douglas Lovell about Greaves disappearance … and he was already facing charges for the rape and murder of another woman, Joyce Yost. He denied ever meeting Greaves at the time.

Dave Cawley: I don’t believe that questioning of Doug ever actually happened and as far as I know, police have not ruled him out. But neither is he the focus of their investigation, nor do they have specific evidence tying him to Theresa.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell’s trial began on Monday, March 16, 2015. After opening statements, the prosecution started questioning its witnesses. Kim Salazar went first, followed by her brother Greg Roberts.

Greg Roberts: I was really impressed with those Weber County prosecutors. There was some carryover from the initial and there was some people that were new to it, but they were so thorough and they nailed it down so well.

Dave Cawley: Then, retired Clearfield police detective Bill Holthaus took the stand.

Bill Holthaus: And then we went through the entire rape thing again. And I mean, right front to back, all the way through the whole thing, y’know they were setting the scene is what they were doing.

Dave Cawley: Doug’s defense attorneys — Michael Bouwhuis and Sean Young — declined to cross-examine all but one of the state’s witnesses.

Bill Holthaus: He never asked me a question. I was never asked a question.

Dave Cawley: A woman then read Joyce’s testimony from the 1985 preliminary hearing…

Denise Jacobson as proxy for Joyce Yost (from March 16, 2015 KSL TV archive): He pulled in the stall next to me … He wanted to have a drink. I didn’t want to go have a drink. I says, ‘I don’t know you.’ I said ‘who are you, anyway?’

Dave Cawley: … just as Marily Gren had done at the rape trial 30 years earlier.

Denise Jacobson as proxy for Joyce Yost (from March 16, 2015 KSL TV archive): He really tried to convince me what a nice person he was, that normally he gives girls flowers, doesn’t do things like this.

Dave Cawley: The final witness for the first day was Kim’s ex-husband, Randy Salazar. He looked across the courtroom at Doug…

Randy Salazar: I would say for 10 years, that man never aged.

Dave Cawley: …and saw for the first time a man with thinning and graying hair. Doug wore a suit jacket and collared shirt, but no tie. He’d shaved his signature mustache. Randy testified about the encounter at the courthouse following Doug’s conviction in ’85.

Randy Salazar (from March 16, 2015 KSL TV archive): He took a few steps, like three or four steps, stopped and looked at me and said ‘she’s gone buddy, she’s gone. You’ll never see her again.’

Dave Cawley: I can tell you that memory still brings tears to Randy’s eyes.

Randy Salazar: Exactly what he said that day, too. When he said, uh, ‘you’ll never find her, you’ll never find her.’ He wasn’t lying. We’ve never found her.

Dave Cawley: Randy told me testifying took a huge emotional toll.

Randy Salazar: That really brought back some real bad memories.

Dave Cawley: Not just for himself. Kim and Randy’s children had been young when their grandmother, Joyce, had disappeared. Their daughters Melanie and Melissa, now grown, told their parents they wanted to attend the trial.

Randy Salazar: And Kim told ‘em, and I told them before they went … ‘you might not wanna hear what you’re gonna hear … in there,’ I said. ‘And you’re going to be in the same room as this man for a long time.’

Kim Salazar: Y’know, you’ve got a situation where you’ve got people hearing it as adults for the first time.

Randy Salazar: They heard stuff in that trial that they had never, that Kim had never told ‘em.

Kim Salazar: In a much different light than they heard it all their lives growing up, for sure.

Dave Cawley: Day two of the trial brought testimony from South Ogden’s investigators, including retired detectives Brad Birch and Terry Carpenter. Rhonda Buttars also testified. Kim and Randy’s children were shocked by Rhonda’s story.

Kim Salazar: They’re hearing it raw in a courtroom. It wasn’t censored, it wasn’t filtered.

Randy Salazar: And I remember them calling me up after, after one day of the trial and just crying and saying ‘dad, mom went through hell.’  I said, ‘yep, yep. Your mom and uncle Greg went through hell.’ I says, ‘and your mom’s a very strong person. You have to, you have to give her a lot of credit because, y’know, Greg wasn’t here.

Dave Cawley: You also went through hell.

Randy Salazar: I did, I did. I, y’know I, I mean it was, in fact it was hard on our marriage.

Dave Cawley: This experience was like tearing off a 30-year-old scab to find the wound underneath still raw to the touch.

There were two other witnesses on the state’s list: Tom Peters and Doug Lovell. Tom had died in 2007 and Doug, obviously, wasn’t going to testify for the state. But both men had testified during the original ’93 sentencing. The prosecutors used proxies to read those transcripts. Joyce’s family had to listen to Doug’s account of the murder all over again.

Randy Salazar: I remember all that stuff. And I remember all the stuff he told Kim and Greg and how he did it. And then you’re right here now asking for another trial and to get off with this thing.

Dave Cawley: Prosecutor Gary Heward rested his case at the end of day two, having put forward a concise but comprehensive presentation.

Gary Heward (from March 18, 2015 KSL TV archive): The evidence that you’ve heard over the past two days amounts to a mountain. A mountain of evidence.

Dave Cawley: The defense declined to call a single witness. Doug told the court he would not testify in his own defense. Michael Bouwhuis made no illusion of claiming Doug’s innocence during his closing statement.

Michael Bouwhuis (from March 18, 2015 KSL TV archive): The details of this case are horrible. There’s no denying that. What Doug Lovell did in 1985 was absolutely horrible. There’s no excuse for it.

Dave Cawley: The jury began deliberations the next morning. It took them just over an hour to return their verdict. Doug stood as Judge Michael DiReda began to read.

“We the jury…”

Michael DiReda (from March 18, 2015 KSL TV archive): …do hereby unanimously find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, Douglas A. Lovell, is guilty of murder in the first degree, a capital felony.

Dave Cawley: Under Utah law, there are specific qualifiers that set capital murder apart from the crime of homicide. In Doug’s case, the prosecution had put forward several. They’d claimed the murder had happened while Doug was also in the act of committing kidnapping and burglary.

They’d said he’d killed Joyce to prevent her from testifying, to keep her from providing evidence, as retaliation against her and to disrupt the enforcement of laws. Only one of those qualifiers was necessary to elevate the crime to a capital offense. The jurors, by unanimous vote, said all of those qualifiers applied.

Doug’s guilt, which hadn’t been in dispute, was re-established. Which left the real question still to be decided: should he die for it?

Cold season 2, episode 10: Buyer’s Remorse – Full episode transcript

Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell sat under sentence of death at the Utah State Prison. His guilty plea to the murder of Joyce Yost — and his failure to lead police to her body — had resulted in the ultimate penalty. South Ogden police Sgt. Terry Carpenter couldn’t escape the thought though the whole mountain search during the summer of ’93 had been an act of misdirection on Doug’s part.

Terry Carpenter: Dave, we tried everything that we could to try to get him to be truthful with us about where she was and what he used and he definitely said he came back with a shovel the second time but still then he indicates that she was only a few inches under the ground.

Dave Cawley: Joyce’s daughter Kim Salazar and her husband Randy believed Doug had used Snowbasin as a ploy to enjoy a few days of relative freedom.

Randy Salazar: I don’t believe she was there, for one thing.

Dave Cawley: Doug hadn’t offered a good explanation for why Joyce’s body wasn’t where he’d claimed to have buried her. Which opened the door to speculation.

Terry Carpenter: The other thing that I’ve wondered in the back of my head is Doug was driving a cement truck. Could he have known that there was going to be a huge cement pour someplace and got Joyce tucked down into the foundation someplace and just covered her up with cement? I, I don’t know.

Randy Salazar: He drove a cement truck and uh, I think he knew where cement was being poured and uh, I think he put her there one day and the next day he, I mean he, poured cement there.

Dave Cawley: I’ve heard several variations on this theory: Joyce might be under a road bridge that now spans the Ogden River, which was under construction in ’85. Or maybe she’s under the foundation of a house near where police found her car. These theories run the gamut from impossible to improbable because remember, Doug had lost the cement truck job weeks before the murder. So he couldn’t have been driving one himself.

But there’s one version of this theory that carries at least an air of plausibility. Let me explain. In the days following Doug’s sentencing, Terry Carpenter received a tip from a woman who suggested Doug might’ve buried Joyce in concrete along Utah State Route 193. That’s the highway that runs along the southern edge of Hill Air Force Base. The road on which the cement plant where Doug worked still sits today.

The tip didn’t go anywhere at the time in ’93 and the woman who provided the tip is no longer alive, so I can’t go ask her about it. But I recently spoke to the man who gave Doug the job driving the cement truck. He told me about a place where all the drivers used to dump their excess cement back in the day, a spot along State Route 193.

It’s a place Doug would’ve known about and had access to, even after losing the job. What’s more, it’s a place midway between where he’d left Joyce’s car and where he’d burned her clothes. Where, if he’d left Joyce body, it would’ve subsequently been covered over by layer upon layer of hardened concrete.

Of course, for this theory to work, we’d have to believe everything Doug supposedly told Rhonda the morning after the murder was complete fabrication.

Terry Carpenter: He can look at you and lie to you with best of liars you’ve ever met.

Dave Cawley: Whether Joyce was — or still is — buried on the mountain near Snowbasin or entombed within tons of discarded ready-mix concrete, something else was about to be unearthed that would further cement Doug’s guilt.

This is Cold, season 2, episode 10: Buyers Remorse. From KSL Podcasts, I’m Dave Cawley. We’ll be right back.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: The paperwork sentencing Doug to death wasn’t filed with the court until August 18, 1993, two weeks after the sentencing hearing. A week after that, on August 25th, Doug wrote a letter to Judge Stanton Taylor asking to withdraw his guilty plea.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): John talked me into going with you because he said he doubted that you would or could give me the death penalty. He was wrong.

Dave Cawley: “John” was defense attorney John Caine. Doug said he’d instructed John to file a motion withdrawing the guilty plea, but had received no response.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I wanted all along to have a jury hear the penalty hearing and not you because I felt I had a much better chance with a jury to receive a life sentence.

Dave Cawley: On August 30th, John filed a formal appeal of the death verdict. He did so without consulting Doug. Communication between attorney and client had broken down, it seemed. So, during a hearing on September 20th, Judge Taylor allowed Doug to fire John. But he didn’t address Doug’s request to withdraw the plea. That ended up in limbo.

Meanwhile, Doug’s appeal of his death sentence went to the Utah Supreme Court. The appeal raised four arguments, three of them claiming ineffective counsel on the part of John Caine. The most substantial of those said John had had a conflict of interest due to his friendship with former Weber County Attorney Reed Richards.

Reed and John went way back. They’d taught college law classes together. They’d owned real estate together. They’d even worked side by side as partners in their own law firm before Reed split off to take the county attorney gig in the mid-‘80s.

Reed was still serving as the county attorney in ’92, when Terry Carpenter served Doug with the capital homicide charge.

Terry Carpenter (from May 14, 1992 police recording): This is all part of count one. It says basically the same information at the top of a capital felony, to whit, aggravated murder…

Dave Cawley: The Utah Supreme Court sent the appeal back to the trial court in January of ’95 on what’s known as a Rule 23B remand. This provision of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure allowed the higher court to have Judge Taylor to dig into the conflict of interest claim to see if it had any merit. 

A few months later, Doug’s new lawyers succeeded in convincing Judge Taylor to recuse himself from the case. And so the matter ended up before a new judge: Michael Lyon. Two full years of hearings and depositions followed. They resulted in a much clearer record of the backstory behind the plea negotiations in Doug’s case, which you heard in the last episode. In March of ’97, Judge Lyon wrote up his findings and sent them back to the Utah Supreme Court.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: These were stressful years for Kim and Randy Salazar.

Randy Salazar: Like, y’know, our friends would ask us to go out and Kim was just, she would not want to go out.

Dave Cawley: They both worked outside the home, raised their three children and did their best to keep up with a never-ending barrage of court dates. Kim kept close tabs on the case, making sure her mother’s interests were represented. The weight of that responsibility wore on her. 

Kim Salazar: It changes how you are as a wife, as a mother, y’know it just does things to you. It changes who you are. It’s not right.

Dave Cawley: The desire to find her mother consumed Kim. She and her brother Greg Roberts figured Doug had little left to lose. And so they decided to approach Doug.

Greg Roberts: Just with the goal of finding the remains.

Dave Cawley: But how to do it? In the last episode, I told you about a letter Doug had written to the judge. Doug had said he hoped for an opportunity to speak with Joyce Yost’s family.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): It would be hard, but I think it would be good for them and me as well.

Dave Cawley: Kim and Greg decided to hold him to that. They went to the Utah State Prison for a face-to-face meeting with the man who’d killed their mother.

Kim Salazar: I didn’t believe you could sit three feet from me and look me square in the eye and see my pain and lie to me. But it’s totally possible when you’re Doug Lovell. It’s totally possible because he did it for over an hour.

Dave Cawley: Doug shed tears during this encounter. He talked of the almighty, as he had in his letter to the judge.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Joyce has always been in my thoughts and prayers. I have never said a prayer that she wasn’t a part of, and at each end asking God and her for forgiveness.

Dave Cawley: But he provided no good explanation why he’d sexually assaulted Joyce.

Greg Roberets: I think Kim had some hopes that she was going to find some answers to why he did it. ‘Cause she asked him that. But I think she left there tortured and worse off for it.

Dave Cawley: The reason why he’d returned four months after the rape to take Joyce’s life was obvious.

Kim Salazar: That’s why he did everything, because he’d been in prison before. He didn’t want to go back.

Dave Cawley: And yet here he was, not only in prison but on death row.

Greg Robeerts: And I had to shake his hand through some, through the bars. And I just wish I’d have broken his arm. Y’know, that’s all I could think about from that day and, and I know that, it didn’t, it just didn’t come out, nothing positive came out of it.

Dave Cawley: It was just one more trauma piled atop all the others. Kim and her husband Randy had endured a great deal together. From the early days after Joyce’s disappearance…

Randy Salazar: And Kim was crying a lot and she was depressed, which she had every right to be.

Dave Cawley: …to the trial…

Kim Salazar: Randy said something to him and he just turned around and he said ‘she’s gone now, buddy, she’d gone.

Dave Cawley: …to those hot summer days of the mountain search.

Randy Salazar: So we go up by Snowbasin.

Dave Cawley: They discovered they’d grown apart over those many years. In February of ’98, Kim filed for divorce.

Randy Salazar: I don’t blame my divorce on this. Uh, y’know man, everyone has problems in their marriage and our problems just went a little further but, I mean, y’know what, it was some hard times. It was some real hard times.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: A member of the Weber County CSI team received a call from South Ogden police on a Saturday in July of ’98. They needed her to respond to a vacant lot, midway between Joyce Yost’s old apartment and South Ogden police headquarters. A group of people working to clear that lot ahead of a planned development had, that morning, dug up a sawed-off shotgun.

The CSI tech went to the field and found the gun. The barrel — what was left of it — appeared badly rusted. The wooden forearm — the part you would pump to feed shells into the firing chamber — had started to decompose. She could see the wooden stock had also at some point been sawed off, effectively giving the weapon a pistol grip. 

The gun had been buried in a small pit near a tree, tucked back into bushes out of sight of the road. The CSI tech looked around and also spotted 14 unfired shotgun shells. They were 12 gauge magnum loaded with double-ought buckshot, the type of shell one might use to take down a trophy buck or moose. 

The CSI tech also found a glove. Moments later, one of the workers called her attention to a second glove nearby, the obvious mate of the one she’d just found. She photographed these items, gathered them up and took them to the crime lab.

The gun didn’t stay there long. The rust and deterioration had left it frozen, with a shell in the firing chamber unable to be ejected. The gun could still possibly fire, though it was anyone’s guess as to when or how.

South Ogden police retrieved the gun from the crime lab a week later. They’d pieced together its provenance.

Terry Carpenter: They called me and said ‘guess what? We found your shotgun.’

Dave Cawley: Terry Carpenter had retired from the South Ogden Police Department just months before this shotgun’s discovery, concluding a 20-year career with the city. But he knew which shotgun they meant.

Terry Carpenter: One of those guns was cut off and was gonna be a sawed-off shotgun…”

The Winchester, which Billy Jack had years earlier told Terry he’d buried after deciding he couldn’t kill Joyce Yost.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: The Utah Supreme Court held oral arguments on Doug’s appeal a couple of months later, on September 1, 1998. A lawyer for the Utah Attorney General’s Office pointed out Doug hadn’t brought up his May ’93 letter seeking to fire his lawyer, John Caine, at his June change of plea hearing or his August sentencing.

Christine Durham (from September 1, 1998 Supreme Court recording): The state’s now arguing that Lovell backed off. He acquiesced, he changed his mind and decided ‘No, Caine’s fine. I’m going to go through with the deal that he’s negotiated for me.

Dave Cawley: The state lawyer said Doug had known what he was doing.

Christine Durham (from September 1, 1998 Supreme Court recording): How do you respond to Mr. Brunker’s point that this was a sophisticated and indeed historically somewhat manipulative defendant who was perfectly capable upon his next appearance before the court of reiterating uh, those points if he still had any commitment to them?

Dave Cawley: Doug’s lawyers argued Judge Taylor should have proactively asked about the letter and said failing to do so was enough to warrant a reversal of the conviction.

Richard Howe (from September 1, 1998 Supreme Court recording): We’ll take the case under advisement. We’ll be in recess for 10 minutes before we hear the next matter.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Carl Jacobson’s career at the Utah State Prison had continued to progress. He’d promoted from lieutenant to captain in the six years since he’d escorted Doug Lovell to maximum security in ’92. The promotion had placed Carl in command over Uinta One: death row. He supervised the staff who oversaw Doug.

Carl’s father died in December of ’98 and he took a week off to grieve, to comfort his mother and to attend to the funeral arrangements. He was surprised when he returned to work to find a card waiting in his office. He opened the envelope and found a message of sympathy from Doug Lovell. This wasn’t an off-the-shelf Hallmark card. It was hand-crafted.

Carl wasn’t sure what to think but the card bothered him. He’d had a hand in denying Doug’s request to attend his own mother’s funeral in ’91. As such, the card seemed to carry a degree of subtext.

Carl sat on it for a few days. He knew a bit about Doug’s crime, having read his file. But Carl hadn’t talked to Doug himself about the case for 10 years, since they’d both been in SSD — Doug as an inmate and Carl as a young corrections officer. Doug, at that time, had still been denying any knowledge of what’d happened to Joyce Yost.

Carl decided it was time they talk again. He told his staff to pull Doug out of his cell and place him in a conference room. He instructed them not to interrupt him for an hour. He intended to talk to Doug, man-to-man.

Carl started out describing the experience of shopping for his father’s casket. He talked about how, at the cemetery, he’d seen deer and rabbits and felt a tremendous sense of peace. Carl then told Doug Joyce’s family should have the same ability to visit her final resting place. Doug recited the story he’d told at his sentencing. Carl didn’t buy it. He said he believed Doug knew right where the body was. He believed Doug was being evasive, but couldn’t understand why. After all, Doug had already received his death sentence. What more harm could the truth now bring?

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: That, of course, depended on the outcome of Doug’s appeal. The Utah Supreme Court issued its decision in April of ’99. Associate Chief Justice Christine Durham authored the opinion. It dismissed the accusation John Caine had been compromised by a conflict of interest. Durham called the evidence in the case “overwhelmingly conclusive,” but said John Caine had still endeavored to secure the best possible plea deal. She noted Doug had himself torpedoed those efforts by confessing to the murder, but said even if he hadn’t, he couldn’t have won a lesser sentence.

The gravity of that sentence was only underscored when, in October of ’99, the Utah Department of Corrections executed a man named Joseph Mitchell Parsons by lethal injection.

Stacey Butler (from October 15, 1999 KSL TV archive): At the stroke of midnight, witnesses say Joseph Parsons drew a few short breaths. His fingers twitched then his mouth and hands turned blue.

Dave Cawley: Parsons had absconded from parole in Reno, Nevada in August of ’87. While on the run, he’d hitched a ride from a man named Richard Ernest near Barstow, California. Ernest had agreed to take Parsons as far as Denver, Colorado. They’d gone about a third of the way when Ernest stopped at a rest area in southern Utah to sleep. Parsons would later claim Ernest repeatedly touched his thigh in a sexual manner and he retaliated by pulling a knife and stabbing him to death.

Parsons dumped Ernest’s body along the freeway, then continued on using the dead man’s car, credit card and identity. A Utah Highway Patrol trooper caught up to him later that afternoon. Parsons had pleaded guilty to murder and opted to have a jury decide his sentence. The jury had chosen death.

Stacey Butler (from October 15, 1999 KSL TV archive): Parson’s last words were ‘Love to my family and friends and to Woody.’ Then witnesses say he shouted ‘The Rainbow Warrior rules!’

Dave Cawley: Woody was Parsons’ nickname for his prison friend, Doug Lovell. Prosecutors and prison staff were at first perplexed by his mention of a “rainbow warrior”…

Scott Burns (From October 15, 1999 KSL TV archive): I have no idea what it means, I don’t care what it means.

Dave Cawley: …thinking it was a boast over having killed Ernest, whom Parsons believed was homosexual. The truth, as reported in an Associated Press article days later, was much more pedestrian. Parsons was a fan of race car driver Jeff Gordon, whose colorful stock car had earned him the nickname Rainbow Warrior. Parsons and Doug Lovell, the article said, often bet on the outcome of Nascar races.

Judge Michael Lyon signed a new death warrant for Doug in the months that followed Parsons’ execution. Doug did not give up the fight. He obtained a new attorney and in October of ’01 filed a renewed motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The prosecutors immediately countered, asking Judge Lyon to dismiss the motion. The two sides argued back and forth until, in February of ’03, Judge Lyon made a decision.

He said Doug couldn’t withdraw his plea for a couple of reasons. First, he’d made the request too late. State law said a guilty plea had to be withdrawn within 30 days. Doug’s letter had come more than 60 days after he’d pleaded guilty.

Second, the judge said John Caine’s filing of the appeal and the Utah Supreme Court’s decision on it, had taken the matter out of his hands. He no longer had jurisdiction. Doug appealed. And so, his case returned to the Utah Supreme Court in September of ’04 — six years to the day after its last visit.

Christine Durham (from September 1, 2004 Supreme Court recording): Good morning. We’re here in the matter of the State of Utah versus, is it Lovell? Luhv-uhl or Luh-vhel? Lovell.

Dave Cawley: Doug had yet another round of new lawyers. They argued the 30-day clock to withdraw the guilty plea had actually started running on the date of Doug’s sentencing in August of ’93, not the day in June when he’d entered plea. They cited precedent. The Utah Supreme Court had decided in another case that the 30-day counter started running at the “final judgement of conviction.”

L. Clark Donaldson (from September 1, 2004 Supreme Court recording): I would just ask this court to remand for a hearing on the merits. It would give Mr. Lovell the opportunity to have these issues heard.

Dave Cawley: In May of ’05, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Doug’s original motion to withdraw his guilty plea was still pending. The high court ordered Judge Lyon to decide if Doug could, in fact, take back his plea.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: There’s a place in the mountains east of Ogden called Sunridge Highlands. It a plateau just east of the Powder Mountain ski resort, a place where people park camper trailers in the summer or spend crisp autumn days secluded in their cabins. Sunridge Highlands is not open to the public. It’s a private mountain community and access is limited. Getting in requires a gate key.

Dorothy Dial’s son Jeff Wehus — Joyce’s nephew, though only about a year younger — visited Sunridge Highlands in 2004 with some relatives. While there, he spotted a for sale sign on one of the lots. And he decided to buy. Jeff called the number on the sign. A man named Russ answered. They negotiated the purchase. Jeff agreed to bring a certified check to the Russ’ house. When he did so, he realized the person from whom he’d agreed to buy the lot was Russell Lovell, Doug’s older brother.

It was a crazy coincidence. Jeff completed the purchase without revealing his connection to Joyce Yost. Then, he did some research and discovered Russell hadn’t owned the lot himself. I’ve checked the property records too and confirmed it’d belonged to Russ Lovell’s mother-in-law.

Jeff soon learned the cabin Doug’s father had built in ’79 was also in Sunridge Highlands, just a half-mile to the east of his new property. Jeff began to wonder if perhaps Joyce might be buried there. He wasn’t alone.

Bill Holthaus: That would be much more logical.

Dave Cawley: Bill Holthaus told me the searches for Joyce in ’93 left him convinced her remains were nowhere near Snowbasin.

Bill Holthaus: I was skeptical from the start that we were going to find anything up there because I have a personal belief that there’s another location for that. … But it would make sense to me that he would go to a familiar place. … And he was at that cabin a lot when he was younger.

Dave Cawley: I’ve mentioned in earlier episodes that the access road for Sunridge Highlands splits off from the same highway that one would take to access Causey Reservoir. And you might remember that’s the same area where Doug’s ex-wife Rhonda told police in ’91 that Doug had taken Joyce on the night of the murder.

Rhonda Buttars (from May 1, 1991 police recording): And they went up by Causey.

Dave Cawley: This statement has for years left Joyce’s children Kim Salazar and Greg Roberts pondering the possibilities.

Greg Roberts: I think everybody feels as though she’s like somewhere up near Causey in that part of the world.

Dave Cawley: To my knowledge, the area surrounding the Lovell family cabin has never been formally searched.

Bill Holthaus: They never pursued a warrant and the father would never let them go there.

Dave Cawley: Terry Carpenter told me police did discuss the idea with Doug’s dad, Monan, years ago.

Terry Carpenter: His dad swears up and down that he did not go up onto the property at south, whatever that property’s called. He says ‘he didn’t have my keys.’ He could have had those keys and made copies of them and then his dad has his own keys back and never know that Doug’s got his own keys.

Dave Cawley: Weber County records show the two-acre lot no longer belongs to Doug’s family, but it is still private property.  Greg told me a few years back he received a call from a Sunridge property owner who offered to take him up for a look around.

Greg Roberts: I called Terry Carpenter and said ‘would you guys still be willing to do something like that?’ And he said ‘yeah, we would.’ And I’ve never really followed up on it.

Dave Cawley: It’s probably a long shot, in any case.

Bill Holthaus: Well, it’s so many years later though, I mean, you’d have to professionally do that with ground-penetrating radar now to even have a chance.

Dave Cawley: Jeff Wehus, for his part, told me he spent years wandering and wondering before he at last sold his lot at Sunridge Highlands. In all that time, he never found any sign that Joyce was there.

[Ad break]

Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell’s son Cody continued to grow while his father’s appeals were working their way through the courts. He hadn’t seen his dad much during the first few years after his mom had turned state’s witness. Rhonda had stopped visiting her ex-husband, as you might imagine. But in July of ’97, Doug had retained an attorney named Russell Minas with the help of the ACLU and made a push for his parental rights.

Minas met Doug, expecting to find a man who was angry at the world. But he wasn’t. Minas would later say Doug was warm, engaging, intelligent and articulate. They became friends and together succeeded in convincing a judge to require Cody to visit Doug at the prison once a month.

I mention this not to pry into the privacy of Cody’s childhood, but because of what it tells us about Doug. Court records show Cody was escorted on those visits by someone he trusted: Terry Carpenter. The Joyce Yost investigation had more or less come to an end when Doug had received his death sentence. But Terry had remained close in the time since with Rhonda and her children.

Terry Carpenter: I don’t think you’ll ever put something like this to bed. Something that will always be there. You’ll always have it there.

Dave Cawley: A few years later, Rhonda sought out an oral surgeon for Cody, when it came time for him to have his wisdom teeth removed. She selected Joyce’s son, Greg Roberts.

Greg Roberts: She brought their son to me to get his wisdom teeth out. I was really blown away by that.

Dave Cawley: Greg’s dental practice in South Ogden was well-established by that point.

Greg Roberts: I’m quite sure she knew who I was. … But y’know I put him under anesthesia and she was right there and I thought, ‘She’s got a lot of trust.’

Dave Cawley: Neither of them acknowledged their shared past, what they’d each lost. Cody had lost a great deal as well. He’d never known his father outside of phone calls…

Cody Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): Hi dad.

Doug Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): Hi. What’re you doing?

Cody Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): Playing. Watching Bart.

Doug Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): What?

Cody Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): Watching Bart Simpson.

Doug Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): Are you?

Cody Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): Uh huh. When you going to bring me those presents?

Doug Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): Soon, Cody. Real soon, okay?

Cody Lovell (from May, 1991 phone recording): ‘Kay.

Dave Cawley: …and visits to the prison.

Doug Lovell (from June, 1991 phone recording): God Rhonda, I miss him so much.

Rhonda Buttars (from June, 1991 phone recording): I know.

Doug Lovell (from June, 1991 phone recording): I think about him constantly. Boy oh boy. I’d give anything to be with him, you know it?

Rhonda Buttars (from June, 1991 phone recording): Yep.

Doug Lovell (from June, 1991 phone recording): Some day, huh?

Rhonda Buttars (from June, 1991 phone recording): Uh huh.

Dave Cawley: “Some day” had never come. I should note I reached out to Cody and his sister Alisha requesting interviews for this podcast, but received no response. Utah court records do show when Cody turned 18, he had his last name Lovell legally changed.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: Judge Michael Lyon held a hearing in November of 2005 to address the question sent back to him by the Utah Supreme Court: should Doug Lovell be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea? Doug, his father, Terry Carpenter and John Caine all testified. The most interesting part of this hearing though was who didn’t testify. Doug had pushed his attorneys to call Rhonda. He wanted to point out how John Caine had refused to ask her certain questions during the ’93 sentencing hearing.

Doug’s attorneys, James Retallick and Ryan Bushell, told the judge they were not keen on this strategy. They figured it would do more harm than good. Doug had insisted though, so they did try to put Rhonda on the stand. Judge Lyon refused to allow it. Doug sent a letter to his attorney a couple of weeks later.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): For you and Ryan to say that her testimony is irrelevant and possibly detrimental to my case is absolutely absurd. There is nothing Rhonda could say that would hurt my case anymore than what I have already admitted to.

Dave Cawley: He called Rhonda a willing participant in Joyce’s murder and rejected the claim she’d only gone along out of fear.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Had John asked Rhonda the questions I wanted him to ask her back then, Judge Taylor would have seen Rhonda’s true and full involvement in everything and would never have said her involvement was peripheral. It could have been the very thing that tipped the scale in favor of not giving me the death penalty.

Dave Cawley: Doug took his complaint straight to the judge in another letter a couple of weeks later.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Dear Honorable Judge Lyon, this letter is to inform you that I am requesting this Court to reconsider Rhonda Buttars having to testify.

Dave Cawley: Judge Lyon held a hearing on this request the following April. It didn’t go well for Doug. The judge called the issue “categorically irrelevant.”

That August, the prosecution and defense presented a fresh round of legal arguments in the fight over the guilty plea. Doug’s attorneys said the judge who had sentenced him in ’93, Stanton Taylor, had failed to strictly follow what’s known as Rule 11. The rule deals with what a judge is supposed to explain to a defendant who makes a guilty plea.

Judge Lyon once again denied Doug’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea on October 5, 2006. He shot down the Rule 11 complaint, saying the transcript showed Judge Taylor had adequately advised Doug of his rights.

However, Rule 11 had changed about a month before the ’93 sentencing hearing and Judge Lyon said Judge Taylor had used the outdated version. As a result, Taylor had failed to specifically mention the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to compel the attendance of defense witnesses and the right to a speedy jury trial. Doug’s defense team seized on this and filed a third appeal to the Utah Supreme Court.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: A man named Jared Briggs arrived at the Utah State Prison in the fall of 2006. He started out, as most male inmates did, in Uinta 5. That was the prison’s R&O facility: registration and orientation. Due overcrowding, staff soon moved Jared to Uinta 3, which housed R&O overflow. What he saw there sickened him: mildew in the showers, blood on the walls. Jared went to work cleaning it, without being asked. The guards took notice and soon offered him a job over in Uinta 1. Death row.

Jared’s crimes were not the type to warrant living on death row. He’d been involved in theft and fraud. Although the job would mean living in the death row unit, he wouldn’t be subjected to the same sorts of restrictions as the other inmates there. And to his benefit, he would get out of R&O — in which his freedoms were few — much more quickly. Jared accepted the job and moved into Uinta 1, cell number 104.

He was surprised when, on his second day there, an older guy with a mustache came by his cell and offered him a cup of coffee.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): When he offered me the coffee I threw it away ‘cause I didn’t know these guys from Adam. I didn’t know if they was trying to kill me or, you know, I just don’t know. I didn’t eat anything they ever gave me.

Dave Cawley: That’s Jared’s voice, from an interview with investigators recorded at the prison. I’m going to warn you to take everything he says with heavy dose of skepticism. He himself explained why.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): Y’know, my word probably isn’t worth a whole lot on the outside. I’m gonna be right honest with you. I, uh, I had a gift gave to me I guess from God and I could talk a nun out of her panties. And you know I used that.

Shane Minor (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): That’s a good one. I’ve gotta write that one down.

Dave Cawley: The second voice there belongs to Shane Minor, who was then working as an investigator for the Weber County Attorney’s Office.

Jared’s job required that he deliver food trays to the other cells. He soon learned that the man with the mustache lived directly above him, in cell 110. His name was Doug Lovell.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): He liked hunting and fishing and I liked hunting and fishing. So that’s where we first connected. His dad had a farm, my dad has a farm. So we started talking a little about that.

Dave Cawley: Soon, Jared was stopping by Doug’s cell on his own time. Doug reciprocated, coming down to talk to Jared during the few precious hours he spent outside of his cell.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): So what happens is, is Doug’s cuff port where we stick the trays is open. So how I talk to Doug is I sit on a bucket in front of his cell and then when he talks to me he’s down at my cell doing the exact same thing.

Shane Minor (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): Okay.

Dave Cawley: Something about this fast friendship made Jared uneasy. Whenever he talked about his family, he took care to not give too much away.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): I gave him a fake address for my parents and a fake name for my girl because I didn’t, prison’s a tough deal that tell everybody all your business and so he was telling me some stuff, y’know, ‘oh, my dad lives here, got a cabin here and dadadadada.’ I says, ‘well my family lives in Idaho, Rexburg area.’ Gave him a fake address and you know what I mean?

Dave Cawley: Jared told Doug about his health problems — he’d had cancer — but embellished the details and described it as terminal. This only seemed to further earn Doug’s trust.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): One day he says, ‘hey, I want to tell you about my case. I want, so if that changes your opinion of me, I know that.’

Dave Cawley: Jared put Doug off. He talked about his own cases instead, but Doug persisted.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): He come down to my cell and he says, ‘hey, tonight I want to tell you about my case,’

Dave Cawley: Jared said Doug proceeded to describe the events of 1985, starting with his rape of Joyce Yost. But the version Jared recounted here diverged from the one we’ve already heard from Joyce herself.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): He was going down a street and Joyce pulled up alongside of him at a stop light and he was looking over at her and she looked at him and, uh, kinda gave him the look, is what he called it, and he pulled in behind her and followed her to her house.

Dave Cawley: Jared had some of the details right, and others wrong. He knew the make and model of Doug’s car — a Mazda RX-7 — but said it was yellow instead of red. Jared said Doug claimed to have simply “snapped” when he grabbed Joyce and put her in his car. Here again, Jared made claims not supported by known facts. He said Doug had bound Joyce’s hands, something she never described. Yet, he knew exactly how many buttons Doug had torn from the front of Joyce’s dress.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): And then he looked at me and says, ‘hey,’ you know, ‘I hope you don’t treat me any different because of what I did.’

Dave Cawley: Jared said Doug had bailed out of jail on his father’s property bond, after convincing his family — and his wife, Rhonda — that he hadn’t raped anyone.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): Him and Rhonda drove by and Joyce was out on the front lawn, mowing in a bikini. And, uh, Rhonda says to Doug, ‘hey, uh, if I got sexually assaulted, I wouldn’t be out on the front lawn with a bikini on mowing my lawn. I don’t think you did this.’ … So Doug went, they made this plan that Rhonda says, ‘you just kill her, you just get rid of her. Then we ain’t gonna have a trial, you ain’t gonna go to prison,’ you know?

Dave Cawley: If Jared’s words are an accurate representation of what Doug said — a big if — then it would seem Doug’s intention was to implicate Rhonda.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): He did tell me, he goes, ‘you know Rhonda’s a key witness.’ He says, ‘they don’t have anything but Rhonda.’ And uh, he says, ‘you know, if she was gone then I, I guarantee I’d get out.’

Dave Cawley: The conversation continued over the course of several days. Jared kept handwritten notes as Doug described Joyce’s murder. This was in line with what Doug himself had described from the witness stand during his sentencing 13 years earlier. So too was Jared’s depiction of Doug stripping the bloody bedsheets, flipping the mattress and driving Joyce’s car up Ogden Canyon to the Snowbasin Road.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): I’m not real familiar with the road but I’ve got a a map here of what he drew me, but—

Shane Minor (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): He drew you a map?

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): Yeah.

Dave Cawley: Again, that other voice belongs to investigator Shane Minor.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): It’s pretty hard for me to tell you this, all this next part. Uh—

Shane Minor (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): Just, just take your time. Just take your time.

Dave Cawley: Jared said Doug pulled off of the road next to a guard rail, where he again sexually assaulted Joyce. Afterward, Doug walked her up into a patch of trees.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): And when she got up there, he turned her towards him and says, uh, ‘you’re gonna pay for this.’ And, uh, he grabbed her around her mouth and nose and had hold of her and he said she just fainted, went to the ground.

Dave Cawley: Jared said Doug claimed to have walked back to her car, where he paused to wonder if Joyce might regain consciousness.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): So he turned around and went back and she was laying with her head on the ground and he grabbed her hair and pulled her head back with a knife went around her throat and he told me that he pretty near cut it all the way off, he said.

Dave Cawley: This was decidedly different from what Doug had testified to in ’93. Doug, Jared said, had visited his dad a couple of days after the murder.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): His dad was working on a lathe and his dad had, ah, one of those plastic things on his head for the shavings to hit, a guard, and him and Doug was talking and, uh, Monan said, uh, ‘Doug, how is your, uh, case going with, uh Joyce?’ And Doug said to him that uh, he goes, ‘she ain’t going showing up for trial.’ And his dad took that shield and lifted it up and looked at Doug and then just turned back and went to, went to uh, work. And Doug told me that, you know, he says, ‘I think my dad knew what I’d done but he never said anything to me.’

Dave Cawley: Jared said Doug had worried a hunter might find the body.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): And he kept telling Rhonda, ‘I’ve gotta go do something with that body.’ And she says, ‘Doug, the cops are following us.’ And he says, ‘well, I’m still gonna go do it.’ So he drove up to where Joyce is at and then he says he went to start digging and there was tree roots and it was just real hard. He dug a little bit and it was just too hard of diggin’.

Dave Cawley: Here’s where Jared’s tale really turned interesting. He said Doug had claimed to have put Joyce’s body in a plastic bag, placed the bag in his car and then driven to Causey Reservoir. There, at a spot along the reservoir’s north arm, he’d tied a cinder block to the bag.

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): And he went down and he said when he went off the edge of the road was so steep that he went right into the water and he went out as far as he could. He said he swam out a ways trying to, and he just let it go. And he come back and he had a hell of a time getting up the bank of the, up to the car.

Dave Cawley: If true — and again, this is a huge if — it would mean Joyce’s remains were, and still are, at the bottom of Causey.

Jared told the investigators Doug had wanted to write to his friends. But remember, Jared had given Doug phony names and addresses. He realized if Doug were to send a letter to one of those addresses, it would bounce back as undeliverable. Doug would discover Jared had lied. So, Jared had engineered a workaround. He told Doug to write the letter, but let him send it so the envelope would have his name on the return address. That way, the person receiving the letter wouldn’t be shocked to get mail from someone on death row. On November 20th of 2006, Doug typed out a two-page letter to “Stephanie,” a friend of Jared’s girlfriend.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): Hi Stephanie. How are you? I hope I have reached you in good health and spirits. I was happy to hear that it was okay to write you. Jared has mentioned your name in so many of our conversations and speaks highly of you.

Dave Cawley: Jared handed the typewritten letter to Shane Minor.

Shane Minor (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): Do they have a typewriter down there?

Jared Briggs (from December 15, 2006 prison recording): Doug does. He’s the only one person in the prison system that has one. They authorized him one.

Dave Cawley: In the letter, Doug wrote about his life in prison: his tiny cell, his Walkman, his 13-inch color TV, his exercise regimen. He talked about his love of the outdoors, his family and his new pal.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I’ve only known Jared for a short time and already consider him an extremely good friend. He’s a man with character, morals and very loyal. Unlike 99% of the people in here.

Dave Cawley: Perhaps most interesting was Doug’s description of his crimes. He acknowledged feeling “deeply ashamed” and “absolutely horrible” for his actions.

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): However, because of a decision by the Utah Supreme Court last year… it now looks as though my sentence will be overturned in the next 12-14 months. I can then work towards parole one day.

Dave Cawley: Doug didn’t mention Joyce Yost by name. He didn’t explain what he’d done to her. He made just that brief, vague admission of some unnamed transgression “many years ago.”

Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): And I can honestly tell you that what I did does not in any way represent the man I am today.

Dave Cawley: In the weeks that followed, Shane Minor worked to verify Jared’s information. He sent the maps which Doug had reportedly drawn to the crime lab for fingerprint analysis. He had prison staff pull their security tapes and confirmed that through November and early December, Doug and Jared had shared several talks. Some were as long as two hours.

Meantime, prosecutors from neighboring Colorado traveled to Utah to extradite Jared on another set of criminal charges. On his way out of the Utah State Prison, Jared asked a guard to pass on to the investigators that Doug had asked to do something. The Colorado case was taken care of and by the end of February, 2007, Jared was back in Utah. Shane met with him again to find out what this “ask” from Doug was all about.

According to Shane’s report, Jared said Doug had asked him to find Tom Peters and to do away with him. In exchange, Jared claimed Doug had promised to make him a part owner of his dad’s cabin. This, Jared said, had rattled him. To make matters worse, Doug had sent letters directly to Jared’s friends and family while he’d been away. Some of that mail had bounced back. Jared had been caught in the lie.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: As the weather began to warm in April of ’07, Shane Minor reached out to the captain of the Utah Department of Public Safety’s dive team with a request: could they take their fancy boat, with its sonar, up to Causey?

Causey was a tough place to launch. There were no concrete ramps and the reservoir’s banks were steep. The big boat was a no-go. Shane next connected with Weber County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeff Malan, who was at that time head of search and rescue. They had their own dive team. The Weber County divers went into Causey on April 29th but found its water still too cold to reach bottom in the deeper portions. They were unable to find anything to support Jared Briggs’ story of Doug having dumping Joyce’s body there.

Several months later, over Labor Day weekend, a young man named Jeong Jee attempted to swim across Causey. Jeong was an exchange student from Korea, visiting the reservoir with a group from Washington Heights Baptist Church.

John Hollenhorst (from September 1, 2007 KSL TV archive): Authorities don’t know why the boy went under. He was possibly exhausted, certainly chilled by the cold water. He may have misjudged the distance he was swimming with his church group.

Dave Cawley: The Weber County dive team mobilized worked until nightfall without success. They returned the following morning, bringing a submersible robot.

John Hollenhorst (from September 1, 2007 KSL TV archive): The submersible’s video camera found the teen 121 feet deep. Its robotic arm grabbed him and brought him to the surface.

Dave Cawley: This, I’ve discovered, was not the first time searchers had scoured the lakebed. They’d done the same almost 18 years earlier, in September of ’89. They too had relied on the help of a submersible.

Larry Lewis (from September 8, 1989 KSL TV archive): Weber County Sheriff’s deputies and deep water diving experts from a Provo-based diving company used a remote-controlled camera to probe the murky depths of the reservoir.

Dave Cawley: After making the recovery in ’07, the operators of the submersible stuck around to do some extra training. They ran the robot through a portion of Causey’s north arm. Three weeks went by before Shane Minor received a call from Jeff Malan about the Labor Day weekend tragedy. Jeff had remembered their earlier conversation about the Jared Briggs tip. He told Shane about the robot and said he’d heard it had dredged up a pair of paint cans. Those cans had been full of nails. Maybe they were just some fisherman’s makeshift anchors. Or maybe they were a weight of some sort, meant to keep a buoyant object bound to the silty lakebed.

I’m not clear if this second-hand information was ever verified. In a report, Shane Minor wrote he didn’t know what happened to those paint cans, or if the area surrounding where they were discovered was ever searched. Remember though that when South Ogden police recovered Joyce’s car from where Doug had parked it near the water tank back in August of ’85, they’d found a bath towel wadded up on the driver seat. And they’d discovered a glass pint jar on the rear passenger-side floorboard. The jar had appeared to contain white paint.

[Scene transition]

Dave Cawley: The Utah Supreme Court heard oral argument in Doug’s third appeal on February 3, 2009.

Christine Durham (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): The court is here for oral argument in number four in our February calendar: State of Utah versus Douglas Lovell.

Dave Cawley: That’s Chief Justice Christine Durham.

Christine Durham (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): Alright, thank you very much. You may proceed for the appellate.

Dave Cawley: Doug had twice already challenged his conviction at the Utah Supreme Court and lost, as I explained earlier in this episode. This third trip to the high court took a slightly different approach. It focused on the guilty plea Doug had entered in June of ’93. He’d asked to take it back soon afterward, but had been left waiting without an answer for years.

David Finlayson (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): You’re going on this expedition of trying to figure out what was in the defendant’s mind back then. This case should have been decided 15 years ago.

Dave Cawley: That’s Doug’s attorney du jour, David Finlayson. Doug’s guilt or innocence wasn’t in question by this point in 1999. But if the high court allowed him to take back the guilty plea, he could have another crack at sentencing and potentially avoid the death penalty. But someone who pleads guilty can’t just change their mind after the fact. Doug had to prove to the justices that his original plea had been flawed. His attorney, Finlayson, figured he’d found that flaw. He said Judge Stanton Taylor had made several errors when advising Doug of his rights back in ’93.

David Finlayson (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): And nowhere in the record of the plea hearing was the presumption of innocence communicated to Mr. Lovell.

Dave Cawley: This exchange between Doug and Judge Taylor was what’s known a plea colloquy. Rule 11 of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure, which I mentioned earlier, spelled out what that colloquy was supposed to include. Under the rule, judges were required to inform defendants making guilty pleas that they were waiving certain rights. Judge Taylor had done that, but using an outdated version of the text.

David Finlayson (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): The presumption of innocence has been found to be a guaranteed right in our Constitution.

Dave Cawley: The very nature of a colloquy is that it’s supposed to be a back-and-forth, not just a recitation of the text. Judges in ’93 expected a certain degree of flexibility with Rule 11. But, in the 16 years between Doug’s sentencing and this 2009 oral argument, the Utah Supreme Court had clarified judges were supposed to maintain strict compliance. We’re talking letter of the law, right down to the precise number of jurors in a capital case like Doug’s.

Christine Durham (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): Well, the trial court did advise to the unanimity required of the jury.

David Finlayson (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): They did—

Christine Durham (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): All the trial court missed was the 12.

David Finlayson (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): Right, the 12 jurors.

Dave Cawley: To put it simply, Doug was arguing he hadn’t known what he was giving up by pleading guilty. Assistant Utah Attorney General Laura Dupaix pushed back on that.

Laura Dupaix (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): He was told three times that he was giving up the right to require that the state prove that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Dave Cawley: In the eyes of the state, all Doug had done was find an excuse to try and claw back his plea on a technicality.

Laura Dupaix (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): That’s his complaint now, is that if he had realized that he was going to get a death sentence — this is really about buyers remorse and this is exactly the thing or the kind of gamesman ship that we should be trying to avoid in the plea process — his reason for pleading guilty was hoping to avoid it. And when he found out that he couldn’t avoid it and that he didn’t avoid it, that’s when he wanted to withdraw from this plea.

Dave Cawley: Dupaix said Doug was an experienced defendant. He’d been through sentencing before, in both his armed robbery and rape trials. This, she said, meant Doug had already known his rights.

Laura Dupaix (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): It’s not whether or not the trial court uses specific magic words.

Dave Cawley: All the years of legal tug-of-war came down to this: had Doug in ’93 fully understood his rights? Had his guilty plea been knowing and voluntary? Had Doug known he was entitled to a presumption of innocence? Had he realized in order for the jury to sentence him to death, their decision would’ve had to have been unanimous? Did good cause exist for Doug to withdraw his guilty plea to the murder of Joyce Yost? If the high court decided the answer was yes, it would mean Doug would get a new trial.

Christine Durham (from February 3, 2009 Supreme Court recording): Thank you very much. Thank you counsel for your arguments this morning. We’ll take the case under advisement.

Dave Cawley: A whole new trial seemed like a long shot, given there was no question as to Doug’s guilt. Laura Dupaix told Kim Salazar not to worry.

Kim Salazar: She’d told me ‘there’s no way, there’s no way, there’s no way,’ this is gonna happen. It’s, we’ve got this thing.

Dave Cawley: But the justice system took its time.

Kim Salazar: That’s all it’s ever done.

Dave Cawley: More than a year went by. Finally, in July of 2010, the high court released its decision. Joyce’s son Greg Roberts was stunned.

Greg Roberts: My head was spinning. I was like, what!?!

Dave Cawley: The justices found in Doug’s favor. It was as if the case had hopped into a time machine traveled back to June of ’93, before Doug had admitted to killing Joyce Yost. Laura called Kim to let her know they’d lost.

Kim Salazar: She was so upset and distraught over it that I actually felt sorry for her having to deliver that kind of news.

Dave Cawley: Judge Lyon had no choice but to sign an order vacating Doug’s guilty plea, a plea Doug had originally said was meant to spare Joyce’s family any further pain and suffering. For Randy Salazar, it felt like a punch to the gut.

Randy Salazar: To see him get another chance at starting this thing all over again, it kind of made me feel like, y’know, like there’s no justice here. This, like this guy keeps on going and going and getting what he wants when he knows, he’s already testified. He got up on the stand, he told ‘em exactly what he did. He ruined a lot of people’s lives and here you’re giving him another chance. It’s just not fair.

Dave Cawley: Seventeen years had passed since Doug had first landed on death row. Twenty-five years had passed since he’d killed Joyce. After all that time, Doug had prevailed. He would get a new trial.

Randy Salazar: Doug Lovell’s got, he’s got more chances in life than Joyce ever did.

Ep 10: Buyer’s Remorse

Doug Lovell had a bad case of buyer’s remorse, at least in the eyes of the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

He’d pleaded guilty to the murder of Joyce Yost and received a sentence of death. Within weeks, Doug was asking to withdraw that plea and take his case to trial before a jury. The request languished nearly for two decades due to a convoluted series of procedural arguments and court decisions.

Joyce Yost Greg Roberts
Joyce Yost (right) sits with her son Greg Roberts (center) and niece Cathy Thoe (left) in this undated picture. Photo: Joyce Yost family

Which meant the death warrant signed by Utah 2nd District Court Judge Stanton Taylor on August 5, 1993 also remained in limbo.

To understand how Doug’s request to withdraw his plea went unresolved for so long, it’s important to have a bit of background on the events that led to Doug pleading guilty to capital murder.


Circumstances of Doug’s guilty plea

The guilty plea Doug Lovell entered came at the conclusion of months of discussion between his court-appointed defense attorney, John Caine, and prosecutors with the Weber County Attorney’s Office. By that point, Doug was aware South Ogden police had captured audio recordings of him admitting his guilt to his ex-wife, Rhonda Buttars.

The secret wire recordings and Rhonda’s likely testimony at an eventual trial made it unlikely Doug would be able to sway a jury into finding him not guilty of the murder. So, on June 17, 1993, Doug signed a memorandum of understanding stating he would lead police to Joyce Yost’s body. In exchange the prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.

That afternoon, Doug brought South Ogden police to a spot along the Old Snowbasin Road on the slopes below Mount Ogden and told them it was the site where he’d killed Joyce on the night of August 10, 1985.

Old Snowbasin Road Joyce Yost
A trail leads through sagebrush and trees near the spot where Douglas Lovell claimed to have killed and buried Joyce Yost. Mount Ogden and the Snowbasin Resort are on the horizon. Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL Podcasts

Police began an intensive search but failed to immediately locate any indication of human remains at the site. The failure to locate Joyce’s body nullified the memorandum of understanding Doug had signed, meaning there was no plea deal in effect. Yet, when he returned to court for the beginning of jury selection in the case on June 28, 1993, he informed the judge he would still be changing his plea to guilty.

Judge Taylor agreed to delay sentencing for a month, providing additional time for police to search the mountainside for Joyce’s remains. The prosecutors promised to honor their original agreement and to not seek the death penalty, so long as the police search surfaced Joyce’s body prior to the sentencing hearing.

That did not happen.

Doug’s sentencing hearing began on July 29, 1993. At that time, Doug was presented a choice of either having a jury decide his sentence or Judge Taylor. Defense attorney John Caine had encouraged Doug to select the judge, suggesting that in his opinion Judge Taylor was unlikely to choose a sentence of death. Doug followed this advice.

On August 5, 1993, Judge Taylor sentenced Doug to die for the murder of Joyce Yost.


Doug Lovell’s request to withdraw

Doug sent Judge Taylor a letter on August 25, 1993, 20 days after receiving the death sentence. In it, he complained about the advice he’d received from his attorney, saying his preference had always been sentencing by a jury. He asked to fire John Caine. He also asked to withdraw his guilty plea and to instead stand trial.

John Caine was unaware of Doug’s letter to the judge. Five days later, he filed a formal appeal of Doug’s sentence. Because of delays in processing mail at the Utah State Prison, Doug’s letter did not arrive at the court until after the filing of the appeal.

At a later hearing, Judge Taylor granted Doug’s request to fire John Caine. The request to withdraw the plea was placed on hold, however, while the court sought new representation for Doug Lovell.

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser. No biggie… you can click here to download the PDF file.

This transcript from a hearing before Utah 2nd District Court Judge Stanton Taylor on Dec. 13, 1993 shows the effort to find new legal counsel for Doug Lovell following his sentence of death delayed Doug’s effort to withdraw his guilty plea.

From there, the procedural history of Doug’s appeals grows increasingly complex. It can perhaps be best simplified by breaking it down into three phases, each punctuated by a decision from the Utah Supreme Court.


Three bites of the apple

The original direct appeal, from 1993 to 1999, primarily revolved around an argument of ineffective counsel on the part of John Caine. Among other things, Doug claimed his lawyer’s past relationship with one of the original prosecutors on his case, Reed Richards, had amounted to a conflict of interest.

The issue of Doug’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea was not raised in the direct appeal. Doug attempted to raise that issue with the court while the appeal was pending, but the trial court judge would not consider it, stating he’d lost jurisdiction when the appeal was filed.

The Utah Supreme Court heard oral argument on the original appeal and, on April 23, 1999, issued a decision affirming Doug’s conviction and sentence.


Rule 11

The second phase began in October of 2002, when Doug filed a renewed motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Here, for the first time, he claimed his 1993 guilty plea had not been made knowingly and voluntarily because Judge Taylor had failed to strictly follow what’s known as Rule 11.

Rule 11 is a portion of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure that spells out the rights judges are supposed to communicate to defendants when they plead guilty. The text of Rule 11 had changed a short time before Doug’s August, 1993 sentencing hearing and Judge Taylor had referred to the older, outdated version in his conversation with Doug at the time of his sentencing.

In his renewed motion to withdraw, Doug argued the judge’s error warranted a reversal of his plea.

Doug Lovell Utah State Prison
This April 7, 2006 image shows Doug Lovell at the Utah State Prison. At the time this photo was taken, Doug was engaged in an effort to withdraw the guilty plea to the murder of Joyce Yost he’d entered 13 years prior. Photo: Utah Department of Corrections

A different judge, Michael Lyon, had by then taken over the case. Judge Lyon ruled against Doug, on the grounds the Utah Supreme Court in its 1999 decision had stated “all of Lovell’s claims fail.” Judge Lyon also said Doug’s original motion to withdraw had not been made within a 30-day window mandated by state law.

Doug appealed Judge Lyon’s decision and once again ended up before the Utah Supreme Court. He argued the 30-day clock should not have started from the date of his guilty plea, as Judge Lyon had contended, but instead from the date of his sentencing.

This is really about buyers remorse and this is exactly the thing or the kind of gamesmanship that we should be trying to avoid in the plea process.

Laura Dupaix, Assistant Utah Attorney General

In their May 27, 2005 decision, the high court justices sided with Doug. They ruled his original request to withdraw his guilty plea had been made in time and was still pending. Which meant Judge Lyon would need to consider the request on its merits.


Doug Lovell: Buyer’s remorse

Judge Lyon held an evidentiary hearing in November of 2005 and subsequently ruled the sentencing judge, Stanton Taylor, had properly complied with Rule 11. Even if he hadn’t, Judge Lyon said, the error hadn’t resulted in any prejudice to Doug.

Doug once again appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.

Utah Supreme Court chambers
The historical chambers of the Utah Supreme Court at the Utah State Capitol. The Supreme Court relocated to the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City in 1998, just as the first of Douglas Lovell’s direct appeals of his death sentence was coming up for oral arguments. Photo: Dave Cawley, KSL Podcasts

During oral arguments on February 3, 2009, Assistant Utah Attorney General Laura Dupaix said the entire debate amounted to regret on Doug’s part over his having received the death penalty.

“This is really about buyer’s remorse and this is exactly the thing or the kind of gamesmanship that we should be trying to avoid in the plea process,” Dupaix said. “His reason for pleading guilty was hoping to avoid it. And when he found out that he couldn’t avoid it and that he didn’t avoid it, that’s when he wanted to withdraw from this plea.”

Doug’s appellate attorney, David Finlayson, pushed back on that idea while pointing blame for the situation back at the courts.

“You’re going on this expedition of trying to figure out what was in the defendant’s mind back then,” Finlayson said. “This case should have been decided 15 years ago.”

The Utah Supreme Court issued a decision on Doug’s third appeal in July of 2010. It said Judge Stanton Taylor had failed to strictly follow Rule 11 by informing Doug of his rights to the presumption of innocence and the right to a trial by an impartial jury. As a result, Doug had good cause to withdraw his plea.

With that, the guilty plea was undone. Doug’s death sentence was vacated. He would receive the trial he’d long been asking for.


Hear how Joyce Yost’s family reacted when they learned Doug Lovell’s plea was withdrawn in Cold episode 10: Buyer’s Remorse

Episode credits
Research, writing and hosting: Dave Cawley
Audio production: Nina Earnest
Audio mixing: Trent Sell
Additional voices: Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell)
Cold main score composition: Michael Bahnmiller
Cold main score mixing: Dan Blanck
KSL executive producers: Sheryl Worsley, Keira Farrimond
Workhouse Media executive producers: Paul Anderson, Nick Panella, Andrew Greenwood
Amazon Music team: Morgan Jones, Eliza Mills, Vanessa Rebbert, Shea Simpson
Episode transcript: https://thecoldpodcast.com/season-2-transcript/buyers-remorse-full-transcript/
KSL companion story: https://ksltv.com/463478/cold-a-prison-informant-reported-douglas-lovells-death-row-confessions-to-investigators-did-either-tell-the-truth/
Talking Cold companion episode: https://thecoldpodcast.com/talking-cold#tc-episode-10