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Man who prosecuted some of Utah’s most notorious murderers leaving DA’s office after 40 years

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Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 19:14:01-05

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah – A man who helped convict dozens of murderers in Utah over the years is set to retire after four decades as lead prosecutor.

Robert Stott is stepping down from that role at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office Friday, and on the eve of his departure he spoke to FOX 13 News’ Scott McKane about his career.

He was never the District Attorney, and Bob Stott typically avoided the spot light, but over his career he worked on practically every high-profile murder case since Ronald Reagan was president.

Stott said he has decided it's time walk away from the job he's had for 40 years.

"And they take away my badge and my cards and show me out the door,” Stott said.

Low-key and understated, those who know and have worked with Stott said his legacy at the DA’s office cannot be overstated.

“There’s not a criminal case of significance in the last 40 years in Salt Lake County, let alone the state of Utah, that doesn't have Bob Stott's fingerprint's on it,” said Sim Gill, Salt Lake County District Attorney.

Stott actually began his career as a defense attorney in Las Vegas but realized he wanted to be on the other side.

“I’ve always wanted to be a courtroom attorney, I've always wanted to work in the courtroom, to be able to present stuff to a judge, to interview witnesses in a courtroom, to make arguments in a courtroom,” he said. “That's what I always wanted to do, and the best place for that is the prosecution office."

So in the mid ‘70s he signed on with the Salt Lake County DA, and, within a few years, Stott began prosecuting a string of high-profile murder cases.

One of the biggest was helping secure a conviction for infamous forger and murderer Mark Hoffman. Stott and a team of forensic experts untangled a web of lies and forgeries that ultimately connected Hoffman to a series of bombings in which two people died.

"I consider him probably the best capital homicide attorney in the state of Utah, bar none," Gill said.

There were dozens over the years, including the Utah cases against killers Ted Bundy, Arthur Gary Bishop and Paul Franklin.

In that time, Stott worked under several different District Attorneys, Republicans and Democrats alike. But his loyalty, focus and energy was always on the cases.

"He was a critical anchor of this institution,” Gill said. “They knew it and he knew it."

Stott also focused on the families of the victims, and Thursday he expressed his admiration for them.

“And I'm always amazed at the strength of these people, such terrible things happen, but they have the resiliency and they're able to not let it ruin their lives,” he said “They're not depressed forever.... and I think that's an amazing quality."

Bob Stott will officially retire and turn in his prosecutor’s badge Friday afternoon.