Man charged with murder of Salt Lake City girl to face death penalty

Shaun Patrick French. Photo: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 14, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — State prosecutors have filed a letter of intent to seek the death penalty for suspect Shaun French, 26, charged in the brutal murder of 15-year-old Baleigh Bagshaw.

The letter of intent was filed late last week.

Bagshaw, a student at West High School, was stabbed to death on May 7, 2018, while in her house, talking on the phone with her mother.

Charging documents say Bagshaw’s mother called a neighbor, who rushed over to the house, saw blood, and called police.

The investigation

SLCPD officers rushed to the scene, near 1650 West and 500 North, and found Bagshaw dead on the kitchen floor.

Bagshaw’s mother told police that the evening before, her daughter had admitted to a previous sexual relationship with Shaun Patrick French, starting when she was 14. French had lived in the house for a short period of time.

“Ms. Bagshaw stated B.B. told her French had threatened to send Ms. Bagshaw nude photographs of B.B. and to post the photographs on social media,” the indictment says.

“Ms. Bagshaw stated that B.B.’s cell phone kept ringing during their conversation, and B.B. stated it was French, and that he had called her 13 times that day.”

The mother then received the explicit photos of B.B. via a social media account, and asked her daughter about them. The younger Bagshaw told her mother she believed the photos were from French, the indictment says.

The two discussed the possibility of reporting French to police and trying to get a restraining order against him, it says.

The manhunt

After Bagshaw’s death, French fled the area, and police launched a multi-state search for him. On May 9, 2018, one of French’s relatives contacted police “and reported that French had just called him and admitted he cut a girl’s throat,” adding that he was calling from Colorado.

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French was arrested later that day by Otero County Police, in an area east of Pueblo, Colo.

A male friend of French was traveling with him, and told officers that he and French had spent part of May 6 and 7 of 2018 in a Salt Lake City park, and that French had left “on foot to contact his ex-girlfriend.”

The friend said that when French returned, he was carrying a black backpack, and “he had blood all over his face and hands.”

The friend told police French “told him they had to leave, that he had cut the girl’s throat,” stating that the victim was on the phone when he killed her.

French and his friend then traveled to Evanston, Wyo., stopping at a gas station where “French placed his bloody clothing into his backpack and then threw the backpack in a dumpster. French then went into the store and washed the blood off his face and hands,” charging documents say.

Evidence

Police searched a landfill near Evanston, Wyo., and found evidence in the Baileigh Bagshaw murder case, they said in a news release. Photo: SLCPD

Police located the landfill where the gas station trash ended up, and searched for hours until finding the backpack with clothing that appeared to be bloodstained, along with duct tape, a ski mask, Latex gloves and a knife.

An autopsy on Bagshaw revealed her cause of death to be sharp force injury and her manner of death to be homicide. She had deep cuts and/or stabs to the front and back of her neck, along with a stab wound to her left shoulder and lacerations to her fingers.

French faces charges of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; obstructing justice, a second-degree felony; and sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

Baleigh Bagshaw. Photo: Facebook

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