Family doubts claim that Emery County woman shot herself
Investigators continue to probe fatal shooting
, Family photo
FERRON, Emery County — The Emery County Sheriff's Office is releasing very little information about a weekend shooting that left one woman dead.
But the woman's mother and brother had plenty to say Tuesday. They claim detectives are keeping them in the dark about their investigation, and they are questioning the alleged circumstances surrounding the death of their daughter and sister.
A'Lisa Joy Weston, 22, was shot once in the chest about 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ferron home of Randy John Behling, according to Emery County Sheriff's Capt. Kyle Ekker.
"We have the 911 call, and (Behling) alleged that (Weston) shot herself," Ekker said.
Still, Emery County prosecutors on Monday charged Behling in 7th District Court with manslaughter, a second-degree felony. He also faces four counts of reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor, and carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence of alcohol, a class B misdemeanor.
The reckless endangerment charges were filed because there were four children in the home when the shooting took place, Ekker said. He would not discuss whether any of the children witnessed the incident.
Family members say Weston and her boyfriend had been drinking Saturday night. They fought and she ended up at Behling's home.
That's troubling to her mother, who claims Behling had "tried to hurt" her daughter in the past.
"I don't know why she ended up there," Melissa Weston said. "I don't understand it. That's a question I keep asking."
A'Lisa Weston's boyfriend and her brother, Robert Brunson, were on their way to look for her when Brunson said they got a call from Behling, who told them Weston had been shot.
The two men rushed to Behling's home, Brunson said. When they got inside, they found Behling "covered in blood from head to toe," he said.
That caused Brunson to question Behling's claim that his sister had shot herself.
"If she had shot herself, shouldn't he only have blood on his forearms and on his knees from trying to check on her?" Brunson said. "Why was he covered in blood?"
Melissa Weston also rejected the idea that her daughter would commit suicide.
"That's not something my daughter would do," she said. "She was very vibrant, a go-getter, a very strong woman."
Investigators are still trying to determine exactly how Weston was shot, Ekker said. They are waiting on an autopsy report, continuing to conduct interviews and have sent evidence to the Utah State Crime Lab for analysis, he said.
"The facts that we know right now, the county attorneys say, supports the manslaughter charge as we speak," the captain said.
He added that authorities won't say much more about the case until they have all the test results in hand.
"We could be looking at a month to six weeks before we get a lot of those reports back," Ekker said.
But Melissa Weston said detectives haven't been keeping the family informed about the progress of the case, which has made the loss of her daughter that much more difficult.
"It's just been frustrating as a parent because, you know, I want to know why and what happened," she said. "And my personal feeling is that she will not get the justice that she deserves."
Behling was booked into the Emery County Jail on the night of the shooting. However, a judge authorized his release into an in-patient substance abuse treatment facility, Ekker said, and he is no longer in jail. He is due back in court Oct. 16 for a preliminary hearing.
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