Men accused in Pineview boating death found guilty on all counts

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14 2013 9:15 p.m. MST

"That was a close call," said Robert Cole Boyer on the stand Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, wiping his forehead as he recounted the relief he and fellow boaters Colton Raines and Skyler Shepard felt after checking on the condition of Pineview Reservoir swimmer Esther Fujimoto as his trial continued in Ogden's 2nd District Courthouse with Judge Ernie Jones presiding. Colton Raines and Robert Cole Boyer are two of three men charged in a boating accident last summer on Pineview Reservoir that killed swimmer Esther Fujimoto.

Leah Hogsten,

OGDEN — A jury found two men charged in the death of a swimmer killed after being struck by a boat at Pineview Reservoir guilty on all counts Thursday.

After two hours of deliberation, the jury found Colton Raines, 23, and Robert Boyer, 30, guilty of the charges they were facing in connection with the Aug. 21, 2011, death of University of Utah researcher Esther Fujimoto, 49.

Raines was convicted on charges of reckless endangerment and obstruction of justice, both class A misdemeanors, as well as failure to render aid, a class B misdemeanor.

Boyer was convicted on a single count of obstruction of justice, a class A misdemeanor.

It is believed Raines was driving the boat after a day of boating and drinking at the reservoir when he swerved after seeing a swimmer, according to court testimony. Skyler Shepherd, who was convicted in December on three misdemeanor charges, said he then took over the helm and returned to ask the swimmer how she was doing.

Fujimoto had been swimming with her sister near the Spring Creek area of Pineview Reservoir. Shepherd said Fujimoto told him she was OK and appeared angry, prompting Shepherd, Raines and Boyer, a passenger on the boat, to leave.

The men have said they did not realize the woman was injured. Todd Grey, Utah's chief medical examiner, has testified that Fujimoto suffered "multiple chopping injuries" consistent with being struck by a propeller and ultimately bled to death.

Prosecutors have said there would have been no way the men didn't know Fujimoto was injured. They also said the men coordinated a story about what happened in which they were not involved.

Shepherd was convicted of reckless endangerment and obstruction of justice, both class A misdemeanors, as well as failure to render aid, a class B misdemeanor, and was sentenced to the maximum possible sentence of 2½ years in jail in January.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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