The Justice Files: A day of terror

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Luke Dollahite is requesting to serve the remainderder of his sentence in juvenile detention.

In 2017, Dollahite was handed a ten-year,“blended” sentence in juvenile and district court.  

He pleaded guilty to four-counts of attempted murder in juvenile court and a single count of attempted murder in the adult court system.

The 16-year old was arrested in November, 2016 after stabbing five classmates during an attack at Mountain View High School in Orem.  

It happened shortly after school began.  Dollahite entered the building with five-knives in his backpack and began stabbing his classmates.  

One of those students was Yafeth Ortiz, who spoke with ABC4 News after he recovered from his injuries.

Ortiz was in the locker room preparing for gym class. 

“He just says ‘hey’ and calls me by name and just like stabs me,” Ortiz said.

He was stabbed near his neck and arm.  None of the injuries were life-threatening.

“He, just went crazy,” Ortiz said. “I see, like blood dripping.  I look at my shirt it’s like, full of blood.  My hands are full of blood.”

As students fled the school, Orem police entered the building and cornered Dollahite.

“The suspect still had a knife at the time,” said then police chief Gary Giles.  “Our school resource officer as well as other responding officers were able to get there and they tased him and were able to take him into custody.”

Before he was arrested, Dollahite stabbed himself.  He was later charged with attempted murder and eventually pleaded guilty to the charges in juvenile and adult court.

At his sentencing, parents of the victims said they forgave Dollahite for what he had done to their sons.  Dollahite offered a brief statement prior to being sentenced.

“The mercy I’ve been shown, I don’t deserve any of it,” he said in 2017.

Under the plea deal, Dollahite will serve an indeterminate amount of time in juvenile detention.  But once he turns 21 years old he will be transferred to the adult prison and finish his ten-year sentence.  The prison terms are to run concurrently with each other. 

Dollahite is now twenty years old and will turn 21 years old in November.  But he is now eligible for parole.  Tuesday, Dollahite appeared before the Utah Board of Pardons.   He questioned the hearing was proper in light of a recent motion filed in court that would keep him in juvenile court until he was 25 years old.

Dollahite’s attorney claimed in a motion filed in third district court where he can take advantage of juvenile services before he heads to prison.

“The defendant was still a minor by legal definition and suffered from severe mental issues where he was forced to accept an adult conviction and sentence in the district court in order to stay in juvenile court jurisdiction,” Dollahite’s attorney stated in his motion. “It is a classic case of coercion by the state.  The United States Supreme Court continues to cutback the power of the state to incarcerate juvenile offenders in the adult system.”

The hearing officer said she was aware of the motion but told Dollahite his parole hearing will not be postponed.  Dollahite agreed to talk about his crime.  Thursday, ABC4 will continue with Dollahite’s comments.  It’s the first time he’s spoken in-depth about why he went to school with a backpack full of knives.

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