Charles Anthony Petrie pleaded guilty 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 his 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 because of Petrie’s mental health issues, according to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. A manslaughter charge is typically used when the act is determined to be unintentional.
A court document filed in support of the guilty plea says 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 instructed him to “get rid of Satan.”
“In light of the delusion, Mr. Petrie’s actions were reasonable from the objective viewpoint of a reasonable person,” the document states.
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 crime happens, it causes injuries to victims, offenders and the communities in which the crime occurs and (restorative) justice is the proportionate repairing of all those injuries,” Gill said.
Attorneys were able to find a just outcome in a tragic case that will give justice for the family, Petrie, and the community, he said.
Petrie also had an unrelated aggravated assault case filed against him from 2016. In that case, Petrie pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, for choking his brother’s girlfriend after his brother told him he could not stay at their house, according to court documents.
Petrie was given a suspended prison sentence and 36 months of probation in that case on Jan. 26, 2018, after pleading guilty, and was released from custody. He stabbed his stepfather about 15 hours after he was released on probation.
Although a judge will make the final decision, the plea deal recommends that the sentence for the assault crime will be consecutive to the sentence for the manslaughter charge, but that the sentence for the possession of a dangerous weapon charge can be served at the same time. This means the recommendation is that Petrie should be sentenced to between one and 20 years in jail.
Petrie’s sentencing is scheduled for April 25.