SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Twenty-two years after Paul Allen found his wife murdered in their apartment, he continues to maintain his innocence.
Allen is serving a life sentence after being convicted of hiring a hit man to kill her. His appeals have been repeatedly denied. But he acted as his own attorney and lost on technical issues.
But on this latest appeal, he hired an attorney to help him get through the technical issues. And he sounded confident with the new evidence he and his family have uncovered.
“I can finally prove it,” Allen said during a recent phone interview with ABC4 News. “We’ve spent years trying to retrieve information and obtain the evidence to prove my innocence.”
Allen said he didn’t put the hit on his wife, Jill, who was found murdered in 1996 at their North Salt Lake apartment.
But an acquaintance, Joey Wright was taken into custody in 1997. Wright eventually accepted a plea deal. In exchange, he told police that Allen hired him to find someone to kill his wife.
That, someone, was George Anthony Taylor who also took a plea deal and admitted Allen hired them to murder his wife.
In 2000, Allen was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
“I was sickened,” said Allen. “It was the hardest thing to be, I had confidence in the system and my attorney kept giving me all the confidence in the world to telling me everything was going great.
Allen turned to attorney Richard Uday to help with this latest appeal. His family paid Uday more than $30,000 to do the work. But Allen claimed after two years, Uday hasn’t done anything to help his case.
“This attorney out of the blue abandoned after my parents paid him and stole all their money,” he said. “And to this day, he forgot to even give us back our property.”
According to Allen’s complaint with the court, Uday has disappeared, “failing to appear in court” on Allen’s behalf, “failing to file paperwork” to get Allen’s latest appeal heard before a judge.
Last spring, the judge ruled in favor of Allen. The judge said Uday “having failed to comply” and ordered him to repay Allen.
Uday has yet to re-pay Allen his money.
Allen now has a new attorney working on his latest effort to clear his name.
“Unfortunately it was started by an attorney who didn’t follow through and in every respect, dropped the ball,” said Greg Skordas. “We don’t know why we don’t know what was going on then. But the case has languished.”
Efforts to locate Uday were unsuccessful. He was evicted from his office in Salt Lake City for failing to pay thousands of dollars in rent owed.
18-months ago, Allen filed a complaint with the Utah State Bar which led to an investigation of Uday’s practice.
Last week, the bar issued a civil complaint that could get Uday disbarred.
Their Office of Professional Conduct filed 41-ethical violations, involving 14 clients, including Allen. Uday is accused of taking more than $166,000 from them.
According to their complaint, Uday;
- failed to keep accounting records
- failed to return advance fees
- made false statements to the court
- and took funds that belonged to others without authorization
Friday, Uday appeared in court.
It was for a hearing that Uday’s own attorney requested. They wanted the
$30,000 judgment set aside.
But after hearing arguments from both sides, the judge ordered Uday to pay up.
“This is not just a simple case of default,” said Judge Richard McKelvie. “This was a situation in which there was a pattern of failing to answer, failing to make disclosures and failure to comply with the court’s orders. and without any good reason.”
Uday left without any comment. It’s a bittersweet moment for Paul Allen who listened in on the hearing via a phone hookup to the state prison. He is still serving his life sentence. But for now got justice against an attorney who was supposed to be on his side.
“So I sit here without getting my property back while this attorney continues to practice,” Allen said.