SALT LAKE CITY — When Shaun Langford's 33-year-old wife, Rashell, shot and killed herself with a rifle, the man paid for the bulk of the funeral costs.
Monday, he paid for her death in a different way, as he was escorted from a 3rd District courtroom to a holding cell.
Having previously pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor, in connection with the September 2011 death of his wife, he was sentenced Monday to 365 days in jail, with all but 180 days suspended, and 24 months probation by Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills.
It is not expected that Langford will serve the full time, as he was ordered to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program in the jail and can be released upon successful completion, according to the judge. He was also ordered to pay a $300 fine.
The man's family cried and hugged one another in the hallway after the sentence was pronounced. Earlier, the man's mother said her son was "tenderhearted" and had "never been in any trouble."
"It was a terrible, sad mistake," the man's mother, Shauna Langford, said. "(One doctor) said it was just a tragic, drug-related accident, and that's what it is."
Shaun Langford spoke briefly in court Monday.
"I just want to let you know it was the worst day of my life," he said through tears. "My whole family is here supporting me. I believe I can contribute to society and do community service and be a better person."
Rashell Langford was found dead in the Bluffdale home the couple shared at 14463 S. Camp Williams Road (1700 West) on Sept. 5, 2011. A gray Remington bolt action rifle was found next to her body, according to charges. A spent shell casing was in the barrel.
Defense attorney Clayton Simms told the judge that the pair had purchased two 30-packs of beer and were using bath salts leading up to Rashell Langford's death.
The woman's blood alcohol level was .46; the legal limit in Utah is .08. It is believed the bath salts somehow counteracted the effects of the alcohol to allow for such a level of intoxication.
"(The substance use) affected Shaun's perception of reality and certainly affected her perception of reality," Simms said.
He said his client has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and grief counseling. Simms asked that Langford be ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
"He's still grieving for his wife," the attorney said. "Shaun wants to provide something positive for the community out of this tragedy. The facts of this case is that he was the witness to a suicide."
At a previous hearing, Simms said Shaun and Rashell Langford, both under the influence of alcohol, made a suicide pact, and Rashell Langford pulled the trigger first. Shaun Langford was "startled" by the gunshot, and instead of shooting himself, he called 911.
"It was a horrible thing that happened," Shauna Langford said. "She loved Shaun. We were such a close family. … (Shaun's) gone through hell."