Man pleads guilty after fatally injuring wife in parking garage at Salt Lake City Int’l Airport

Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 13, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A man has pleaded guilty to reduced charges after fatally injuring his wife in a parking structure at the Salt Lake International Airport on April 4 of this year.

Shawn Christopher Sturgeon, 38, pleaded guilty to:

  • Criminal homicide/automobile homicide, a second-degree felony
  • Domestic violence in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony

Dropped as part of the plea deal was an additional charge of manslaughter, a second-degree felony.

The victim was 29-year-old Charlotte Marie Dalton-Sturgeon.

Charlotte Marie Dalton-Sturgeon. Photo: Obituary

The incident

At 2:39 p.m. on April 4, Salt Lake City police were called to the airport.

“Details were that a female was run over by a vehicle,” Sturgeon’s probable cause statement says. “Shawn Sturgeon, his wife Charlotte, and their small child were arriving back in town from a vacation. The incident occurred in the short-term parking lot.

“When officers arrived on scene, they found Charlotte located in the front seat of a vehicle near the toll area. She was non-responsive but breathing. Charlotte was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced deceased.”

Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

Video surveillance obtained from the airport garage showed that before the accident, according to the statement, Sturgeon placed the child into the right passenger side of the vehicle. Sturgeon then got into the driver seat, and then the vehicle’s brake lights lit up.

“Charlotte appeared to be sitting in the front passenger seat, and then is seen exiting the vehicle,” Sturgeon’s probable cause statement says. “She walked to the rear passenger side seat of the vehicle and opened the door as Sturgeon started to reverse the vehicle. He abruptly sped up and then stopped the car. Charlotte lost her balance during this abrupt movement. The door to the vehicle was still open. Within seconds, Sturgeon again hit the accelerator and quickly moved backwards.

“Charlotte’s legs could be seen flailing about as Sturgeon continued to reverse. Being dragged caused Charlotte to fall to the ground under the vehicle. Sturgeon then put the vehicle in drive, accelerated quickly forward, and pushed the accelerator and quickly over Charlotte’s body with the right rear passenger tire, leaving a tire imprint on her body, and the weight of the vehicle causing serious bodily injury to her internal organs.

“Sturgeon then exited the vehicle while yelling and flailing his arms and told Charlotte to get in the vehicle, which she did shortly before succumbing to her wounds,” Sturgeon’s probable cause statement says.

Arriving officers noted that Sturgeon appeared to be intoxicated and had glassy, bloodshot eyes and an odor of alcohol.

While being transported to the public service building for an interview, “Sturgeon made several spontaneous utterances including, ‘I ran my wife over,’ ‘I killed my wife,’ and ‘I accidentally ran her over.’”

Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

Witness perspectives

Witnesses’ statements also revealed Sturgeon appeared angry with his wife.

One witness “overheard yelling and arguing between a male and female, later identified as Charlotte and Sturgeon, prior to observing the vehicle on top of Charlotte and rolling off her. The witness said he “yelled for Sturgeon to not go anywhere as he was taking video of what was happening. Sturgeon ignored the pleas to stay there and instead sped off from the scene.”

A second witness explained to investigators that she was in her car getting ready to leave when she heard a loud noise. She turned around and saw a woman on the ground and observed the car go over her. The witness said she heard Charlotte yelling and screaming while Charlotte was on the ground.

“The male driver then got out of the car and asked the female (victim) why she just did that. The male then said, ‘Now I have to take you the emergency room,’ and then aggressively picked her up and pushed her towards the front passenger seat.”

“The second witness explained that she saw a woman lying on the ground and then observed a vehicle run over the body. (Witness 2) heard crying and moaning from the woman. The driver came to a screeching stop and then got out of the car yelling at the woman saying, ‘Are you f-cking crazy,’ and continued screaming at the woman. The driver then told the woman (victim), ‘Get the f-ck up right now. Get off the ground and get in the car.’ The woman got up and limped to the vehicle and the vehicle drove away.”

A preliminary toxicology screen showed Sturgeon had a 0.13 BAC. In Utah, the legal limit for intoxication is 0.05.

An autopsy performed on 29-year-old Charlotte Sturgeon found her death was caused by blunt force trauma, the statement says, adding, “Charlotte’s pulmonary artery had been severed and her liver was lacerated.”

Sentencing

The criminal homicide/automobile homicide conviction comes with a maximum penalty of 1 to 15 years no minimum sentence) in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The domestic violence in the presence of a child comes to a maximum penalty of zero to 5 years in prison with a $5,000 fine.

So at his sentencing, not yet scheduled, Sturgeon faces zero to 20 years in prison.

Photo: Salt Lake City Police Department

 

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