Parole Hearing Held For John Blanchard, Convicted For 1995 Park City Homicide
Earlier this fall, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole held a hearing for John Emery Blanchard, who was sent to prison for killing his wife Patti in Park City in 1995.
The board ultimately voted that after 25 years behind bars, Blanchard would be confined for at least five more years. They set another parole hearing for September, 2025.
The Board heard Blanchard’s story about the night of the homicide. They also heard the now-adult children of John and Patti, who took different positions about whether to release their father or keep him in the Utah State Prison.
Blanchard was arrested for the death of 45-year-old Patricia Ann Coon Blanchard in September of 1995. He was convicted of capital murder in May of 1996. But the jury didn’t agree on a death sentence. The judge was compelled to sentence him to life with the possibility of parole.
At the electronic Parole Board hearing, in early November, Blanchard, now 76, testified that his relationship with Patti was very dysfunctional but paradoxical.
He said they had been divorced for two years, but were still “together.” He visited their home in Park Meadows to feed the kids or take them to school, but he had moved out because Patti said she couldn’t breathe with him around.
Blanchard claimed that Patti had said around that time, “One of us has to die so one of us can live.” He said he asked Park City Police for an intervention, but they said they couldn’t do anything.
He said that Patti was desperate to get on with her life without him, but it bothered him that she had other male interests, and especially, he didn’t like that he was told he would have to make an appointment to see his kids.
Asked if he had been violent with his wife, Blanchard said he wasn’t, but admitted as a husband he had been unpredictable, often absent, and was going to AA for an alcohol problem.
Blanchard said on September 9th of 1995, Patti requested money for a trip to Las Vegas, but asked him to come by after 10 p.m., because, supposedly, the kids would be asleep and wouldn’t see them getting along.
Blanchard said when he found the front door locked, he entered the house through the bathroom window, which he had done before. He went up to her room and put the money on the bed.
When Blanchard was asked why he didn’t just leave at that point, he said that Patti wanted him to stay.
Blanchard said he knows some people don’t believe this part of the story. But he said that as he sat down, with his face in his lap, he was struck from behind with the butt end of a lamp, and then Patti jammed her thumb in one of his eyes.
Blanchard stated, “..and I said to myself, “OK”. He said in retaliation he put his forearm across her neck and pushed, and he saw that she had died.
Blanchard said repeatedly he was the only one in the room, and this is how he remembers it.
Afterwards, he said that he made a 911 call to police, called Patti’s parents, and also got medicine for daughter Emory because she had a stomach ache.
The prosecution said Blanchard, at the time, made several vulgar statements about the crime, said he had planned to kill her for months, and wrote ‘NO REGRETS”. At the board hearing, Blanchard claimed those were lies because at the time he was “beside myself” and “out of my mind.”
The Parole Board heard from Emery Blanchard, 13 years old at the time of the homicide, who said she favored parole and was willing to help her father with housing, transportation and other items. She said that over 25 years, she has had therapy and gone through all the emotions. Emery said she now feels compassion and forgiveness for her father, and wants to put some of the childhood nightmare behind her.
Emery said that also, she still loves and misses her mother, and in Patti’s name, she has worked in domestic violence programs, and is a victim advocate in Kane County, where she now lives. She said her mother “wouldn’t want me to be sad or angry.”
She said she has seen her father change and attain sobriety in prison. She said he’s been a model inmate, and at his age is a COVID-19 risk behind bars.
On the other hand, Michael Blanchard, who at 12 years old slept through the murder, told the Board his father should stay behind bars. He said, “I don’t believe for a second he can be rehabilitated. I think he still is a monster. He’s just an old monster.”
He said the crime was premeditated, and recalled that John had told young Michael that there was a vein of evil in Patti, and in all the women on her side of the family, even possibly his sister. Michael said his father had shown him physically how he would kill Patti.
Michael said that his father has been diagnosed as bi-polar and as a sociopath, and during his whole childhood, drugs and alcohol ran John’s life.
But he said that John has done well at the Utah State Prison, and there have even been reports he wields a lot of influence in the facility. Michael joked grimly, “Go, Dad.” But Michael said his extended family and friends fear for their safety if John would be released.
In response, John Blanchard said he doesn’t recall events the same way Michael does. But he understands and doesn’t doubt his son’s attitude about him.
Blanchard said his son and daughter have done well in adult life. He said, “I wish I could take some credit for that. I elect not to.”
He concluded by telling the Board, “I’m sorry—I don’t sound sorry—I’m sorry.”