Utahn who kidnapped, targeted young boys seeks parole

UTAH STATE PRISON — A man who committed a series of crimes against young boys 15 years ago — kidnapping one, attempting to kidnap two others, and hitting one with a car — is seeking another chance at parole.

Robert Allen Kartchner, of Orem, who will turn 36 next week, was sentenced to 15 years to life at the Utah State Prison in 2004. From 2002 to 2003, Kartchner committed crimes against four boys ranging in age from 6 to 16.

In one case, he abducted a kindergartener walking home from school, bound him with duct tape, cut and stabbed him with a knife and left him in Spanish Fork Canyon.

In another case, Kartchner hit a teenage boy from behind with his van, leaving him with spinal injuries.

On Tuesday, two of those boys, now adults, Ben Bladh and Andrew Martin, attended Kartchner’s parole hearing at the prison. It was Kartchner’s second attempt at parole.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Robert Allen Kartchner sits in front of Utah Pardons and Parole board member Denise M. Porter at a parole hearing at the Utah State Prison in Draper on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019.

When addressing Utah Board of Pardons and Parole member Denise Porter, who conducted the hearing, Martin said he would support whatever decision the board makes, but asked that members consider whether they believe Kartchner would attempt to abduct another child.

“I feel that it’s very important (that) the past not happen again,” he said.

Ben Bladh, who was kidnapped and tortured by Kartchner, did not address the board and declined comment after the hearing. Both men, however, said that they are doing well today.

Kartchner spoke slowly and softly as he answered Porter’s questions.

“I am truly sorry for my actions, for the children that I hurt and their families,” he said. “All I can do is move forward and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Kartchner talked about how he had spent 4 ½ years at the Olympus facility while at the prison, which is where inmates with mental health issues are housed. It was there, he said, that he learned to deal with anxiety and depression. While stressing several times that he was not using it as an excuse, Kartchner said after the death of his grandmother he fell into a deep depression, which turned into anxiety.

“I felt socially inept,” he said.

That depression turned into paranoia and the fear that everyone around him was judging him, Kartchner said.

“I was young and stupid,” he said, adding that he “wanted to run away from life — then it just went downhill.”

He said he became “isolated” and refused to talk about his mental problems with anyone because he “didn’t want to be treated differently” and he thought admitting having a mental illness “would be seen as weakness.”

Treatment at prison, he said, has taught him that seeking help when he starts to feel those feelings of depression and anxiety again, is OK.

“Now I actually find friends or family that I talk to and say, ‘Hey, I’m starting …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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