A men’s maximum security unit from the new Utah State Prison in Salt Lake City is pictured on Oct. 21, 2021. A North Salt Lake man convicted of paying another man to murder his wife in 1996 had his first parole hearing Tuesday, but he refused to attend. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — A North Salt Lake man who paid another man $10,000 to murder his wife had his first parole hearing Tuesday 22 years after he was convicted.
But inmate Paul Christopher Allen, 53, chose not to attend.
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole had set aside an hour for Allen’s first parole hearing, which is considerably longer than the time typically allotted for hearings and used only for high-profile cases. Tuesday’s hearing, however, lasted less than 30 minutes.
While Allen chose not to attend or speak, the family of his wife Jill Allen, 24, was present. Jill Allen’s mother and sister made emotional pleas to the board, asking them not to grant parole.
“I would like Paul to know once again what a coward he is for not showing up today,” said Jill Allen’s sister, Mikki.
On Aug. 28, 1996, George Anthony Taylor, 52, brutally bludgeoned Jill Allen to death in her condo. Taylor was paid $10,000 by Paul Allen in the murder-for-hire plot. But Taylor did not kill her right away; rather, he kept putting it off, saying he couldn’t convince himself to go through with it. Taylor claims there were about 20 times when he was supposed to go through with the plan but didn’t.
Taylor was convicted of murder in 1998 and sentenced to a term of six years to life at the Utah State Prison. Paul Allen was convicted of capital murder in 2000 but was spared the death penalty and was instead sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The middle man in the scenario — Joseph Sergious Wright, the man who put Taylor in contact with Allen — pleaded guilty in 1998 to attempted murder and criminal solicitation and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In June, Taylor went before the parole board for the first time. Although Jill Allen’s mother, Andrea Myler, said she was finally at a point in her life where she could forgive Taylor, she did not want him released from prison. Taylor, however, was recently granted parole but is not scheduled to be released from prison until 2027.
On Tuesday, an emotional Myler did not use the word forgiveness when speaking of Paul Allen. Instead, she told the board that she had hoped to face Allen and tell him how she wanted him to feel the same terror that her daughter did.
“I wanted you pronounced guilty and sentenced to death,” she said. “Our system is much kinder than you are. Now, I want you to spend the rest of your life in prison.”
Myler said she misses getting calls from her daughter and hearing her laugh.
“But I don’t miss her calling me and telling me how mean you were to her,” she said. “Being married to you were the worst years of her life.”
Even though Paul Allen was not in the room, Myler told him not to “send me any more letters telling me how much you loved Jill.”
She questioned how he could wake up on the morning of Aug. 28, 1996, get ready for work and have breakfast with Jill — “all the while knowing that by day’s end, she’d be dead. What kind of monster does that?”
“Jill’s life was not yours to take or end. You do not have the right,” Mikki added. “You think spending the last 25 years in prison is justice? No, it’s not.”
She said she got a call from her sister just one week before her death, saying how miserable she was being married to Allen, but he wouldn’t allow her to get a divorce because he didn’t want the embarrassment of looking like a failure.
“You and your sick, evil, selfish self-absorbed pride did this. It was 100% avoidable,” the sister said. “True justice will come when you appear before the all-knowing God, when you try to explain to him why you did this to his precious child.”
The full five-member board will now vote on whether to grant parole or set a date for another hearing. But board member Blake Hills, who conducted Tuesday’s hearing, said that based on Allen’s decision not to attend his own hearing, he could “say with some confidence” that the board would likely not be granting parole at this time.