Charles Anthony Petrie pleaded guilty on Friday to manslaughter in the stabbing death of his stepfather in early 2018 while the man was in bed. (Salt Lake County Jail)
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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man pleaded guilty Friday to killing his stepfather, Johnny Postlethwait, by stabbing him while he was in bed in January 2018.
Charles Anthony Petrie, 34, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and possession of a dangerous weapon, a third-degree felony, as part of a plea deal.
He was initially charged with murder, a first-degree felony, but the charge was reduced to manslaughter due to Petrie’s mental health issues, according to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. A charge of manslaughter is usually used when it is determined that the act was unintentional.
A court document filed in support of the guilty plea states that Petrie, on the day of the crime, acted under a delusion which, if correct, would have justified the actions Petrie took. The delusion was that his stepfather, Postlethwait, was Satan and that God had commanded him to “get rid of Satan”.
“In light of the delusion, Mr. Petrie’s actions were reasonable from the objective perspective of a reasonable person,” the document said.
Gill said the family, including Petrie’s mother and siblings who lost their stepfather, have been involved in the case and are “100% supportive” of the plea deal.
“When a crime occurs, it causes injury to victims, offenders and the communities in which the crime occurs and (restorative) justice is the proportional repair of all those injuries,” Gill said.
Lawyers were able to find a just outcome in a tragic case that will bring justice to the family, Petrie, and to the community, he said.
Petrie was also the subject of an unrelated aggravated assault case from 2016. In that case, Petrie pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, for suffocating the little girl. friend of her brother after her brother told her he couldn’t stay at their home, according to court documents.
Petrie received a suspended prison sentence and 36 months probation in the case on January 26, 2018, after pleading guilty, and was released. He stabbed his stepfather about 15 hours after his parole.
Although a judge will make the final decision, the plea agreement recommends that the sentence for the crime of assault be consecutive to the sentence for the manslaughter charge, but that the sentence for possession of a dangerous weapon can be purged at the same time. . This means that the recommendation is that Petrie be sentenced to between one and 20 years in prison.
Petrie’s sentencing is scheduled for April 25.