SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – John Blanchard never backed off from admitting that he strangled his wife.
It was September 1995 when Summit County authorities received a 911-call. Blanchard had placed the call from his office.
“He identified himself and indicated that he had strangled his wife,” said an unidentified police officer who spoke with an ABC4 reporter in 1995.
The officer said Blanchard said his dead wife was at their Park City home. Police arrived at the scene and placed him under arrest.
The jail mugshot of Blanchard showed signs of a struggle. There were scratches on his face and he looked disheveled. In charging documents Blanchard admitted to premeditation murder of his wife Patti.
“For months I have planned to kill her,” he said in the court documents. “I did it tonight. No regrets.”
Blanchard took it one step further. He told another officer that the murder was a relief.
“I’m delighted,” he was quoted as saying. “ I’m Happy. The kids are happy. There are probably 200 people in Park City who wondered why I didn’t do it sooner.”
The couple were parents of two children. At the time, Patti Blanchard quit her job in Salt Lake City and took on another job in Park City to be closer with her children. Her colleagues told ABC4 back then that John Blanchard’s statements didn’t portray who Patti really was.
“That’s a lie,” her colleague told ABC4 in 1995. “I haven’t met anyone in town that didn’t have anything bad to say bad about Patti. Patti Blanchard is well liked. I’ve never heard anything but nice things about Patti Blanchard.
Blanchard’s attorney attempted to claim it was self-defense but Blanchard himself said something different. He was charged with aggravated murder. At the very outset he continued to take the blame. At one of his first court appearances he told the judge “I did it” and was “glad” to do it. It was an open and shut case.
The jury deliberated for a short time and found him guilty but they spared his life ruling against the death penalty. The judge sentenced him to life in prison with a chance of parole.
After 24-years the opportunity for parole arrived. Earlier this month, Blanchard appeared before a hearing officer with the Utah Board of Pardons to make his case for release.
The hearing officer wanted to know more about his statements related to premeditated murder.
“That was one of the things that I did say that was not accurate at the time,” Blanchard responded to the inquiry. “She said one of us has to die so one of us can live.”
Also listening in to the virtual parole hearing were the couple’s son and daughter. Thursday, in part two of Blanchard’s crime, they offer comments about what should happen to their father. Each has a different perspective of their father’s future.