Judge throws book at man for 'spineless' actions in swimmer's death

'I don't know how you can live with yourself,' judge says

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 23 2013 3:25 p.m. MST

"You fled the scene and left her to die," Bryan Fujimoto said. "By fleeing, Esther's best hope of survival also fled. … We are anguished to know of the pain and suffering Esther must have suffered in her final moments. … We will never forget those autopsy photos."

The judge said there were a number of things that bothered him about this case, including Shepherd's seeming lack of remorse.

"It's troubling for me to hear this case not once but twice, and every time I looked at you I saw no remorse," Jones said. "Nothing. It was as if we were trying something that had nothing to do with the death of a woman."

The judge ordered all of the jail terms to run consecutively and ordered Shepherd to pay restitution to the family, which Neeley said the man wants to do.

Both Jones and Fujimoto's family also referenced a law passed during the 2012 legislative session that now makes leaving the scene of a boating accident a third-degree felony. Jones said that new law better speaks to the seriousness of the crime.

Saunders said he felt the sentence was appropriate given not only that Shepherd and his friends left Fujimoto, but that they also "concocted a lie to tell police."

"To leave someone to die with no chance of survival, we think that justifies the sentence," he said.

The cases against Boyer and Raines are set for trial in February. Boyer is facing a charge of obstruction of justice, a class A misdemeanor. Raines is facing the same three charges as Shepherd.

Shepherd has been issued a subpoena to appear at their trial, but it is unclear whether he will cooperate.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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