The Justice Files: Killer who had ‘no regrets’ for killing wife denied parole

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – After 24 years, John Blanchard’s children are at odds over their father’s future.

In 1995, he was sent to prison for murdering his wife, Patti.  But this month, Blanchard became eligible for parole.  Their children were also there during the virtual parole hearing.

“I was there,” he told the hearing officer.  “I know what happened.”

Following his arrest Blanchard told Park City police that he had planned to kill her.

“I did it tonight,” he said in 1995. “No regrets.  I’m delighted. I’m happy. The kids are happy.”

During his trial, Blanchard claimed he was the peacemaker and Patti was the aggressive one.

“We were in a terrible, terrible place,” he said.  “We were dysfunctional as a couple, a divorced couple.”

But he was allowed visitation rights and would often come to the home.  There they had arguments that required police intervention.  He said when police arrived they saw him with scratches and cuts.  Blanchard claimed Patti was never injured.

The jury didn’t believe him and he was convicted.  He avoided the death penalty but was handed a life sentence with a chance of parole.  He’s been behind bars for more than 24-years and still maintained his innocence during his parole hearing.  Blanchard said his statements of boasting about Patti’s murder were not true because he made them during a fit of anger.

His children who were 13 and 12-years old in 1995 are now adults.  Both were at this hearing and offered quite different views on what should happen to their father.

“I really need to move into a place that’s far down the road as just wanting to move on and feeling compassion and peace in my life and even forgiveness and empathy for my dad,” said Emery Blanchard.  “I love my dad, I love my mother.”

She said she had gone through years of therapy and is willing to give her father a second chance.  Emery Blanchard said she would open her home to him following his release.  But she said she fully understands the gravity of his crime.  She claimed she now champions for victims of domestic violence.

But there’s no forgiveness coming from her 37-year old brother.  He asked that his father remain locked up for the rest of his life.

“I’d like that to be considered today,” Michael Blanchard said.  “I believe he is older but I believe he is still the monster that I knew when I was growing up.”  

He said it was difficult to live under his father’s leadership while growing up.  The son also claimed Blanchard told him that he was going to kill his mother because she was making their lives miserable.  

It’s an allegation John Blanchard denied.

“I don’t recall saying that,” he said.

John Blanchard said he still has a photo of Michael placing his hand on his mother’s casket.  It was given to him by a family friend.  When he received the photo the friend told him he had ruined many lives.

“I could not agree more,” he said.  “I am seriously sorry.”

But his testimony was not enough to convince the entire board of pardons to grant him parole.  His request was denied and will have to remain in prison until 2025 when he’ll return for another parole hearing.

Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence is available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465) If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.
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