Robert Stott was a Sunday school teacher, an ice cream maker and the man who prosecuted Utah’s most notorious killers for four decades.
The longtime Salt Lake County deputy district attorney died March 5 at the age of 77.
The list of high-profile cases Stott prosecuted is a literal murderers’ row — Ted Bundy, Mark Hoffman, Ervil LeBaron, Joseph Paul Franklin, Ronnie Lee Gardner, Arthur Gary Bishop and Mark Hacking, just to name a few. And theirs were just a few of the thousands of cases Stott handled in his four decades as a prosecutor.
“It’s been a life’s work,” Stott told The Salt Lake Tribune when he retired in 2016. “I’ve made mistakes … but I got to help a lot of victims of crimes, you know, hundreds, thousands of victims of crimes.”
“To say Bob was the consummate professional is a considerable understatement,” Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill said of Stott in a statement. “Bob treated every case with great care and worked hard at everything he did, whether he was involved with cases that garnered world-wide attention, like the Ted Bundy case or the Mark Hofmann case and several others, or a case known only to the victim and the defendant. For Bob, the size of the case didn’t matter.”
Stott was respected by both his fellow prosecutors and the defense attorneys he faced in court. “Bob is one of a kind,” defense attorney Ed Brass said. “You don’t often find people who are that good, that decent and, at the same time, that effective at their job.”
Robert LeGrande Stott was born July 2, 1944, in Lompoc, California, and raised in Pleasant Grove. After serving a Latter-day Saint mission in Texas, he graduated from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah law school. He married Deanie Russell in 1971, and they had six children and 24 grandchildren.
After clerking for a Nevada judge, Stott spent four years as a defense attorney, representing clients accused of everything from jaywalking to murder. “I can honestly say that there isn’t a one of them that I am convinced was innocent,” he told The Tribune.
He returned to Utah in the mid-1970s and went to work for the Salt Lake County Attorney’s office. In one of his first cases, he assisted with the prosecution of Bundy, who was convicted on kidnapping charges at the time.
His other high-profile cases included prosecuting LeBaron, convicted of ordering the murder of a rival polygamous leader; Franklin, a white supremacist convicted of killing two Black men; Gardner, convicted of killing one man during a robbery and another while attempting to escape from police custody; Bishop, convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering five boys; and Hacking, convicted of murdering his wife and disposing of her body in a dumpster.
Perhaps Stott’s most high-profile case was the prosecution of Hofmann, who eventually confessed to killing two people with bombs to cover up his forgeries of primarily “Mormon” documents.
“It was kind of our O.J. Simpson case here in Utah,” said Stott. “But once we showed that he was a forger, he was a scoundrel, he was a flimflam man, then they could believe he could be a murderer.”
According to the obituary written by Stott’s children, “the most admirable aspect of Dad’s career was how well he balanced work with family life.” According to the obituary, Stott’s favorite church position was as a Sunday school teacher, but his “most legendary” was as a nursery leader.
He had a “generous heart” — he “read for the blind, helped people with their tax forms, visited and brought homemade treats to elderly widows, enjoyed taking a blind friend to the opera, and for years volunteered weekly at a local food pantry,” the obituary stated.
He also “developed a surprising talent for pie making and homemade ice cream.”
There will be viewings on Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the Russon Brothers Mortuary at 1941 N. Main St. in Farmington, and on Saturday from 9:45-10:45 a.m. at the Farmington Steed Creek chapel at 347 S. 200 West. Funeral service will follow at 11 a.m.
For those wishing to attend virtually, here is a link: https://zoom.us/j/98412805720