SALT LAKE CITY — Shantelle Reid's family filled more than two rows in the courtroom Wednesday.
Wearing purple shirts and purple ribbons — the woman's favorite color and a symbol for those taking a stand against domestic violence — they cried as they saw pictures of her bloodied face projected onto a screen.
Manner of death? Homicide.
Cause of death? Gunshot wound to the head.
Prosecutor Matthew Lloyd said the details of cases such as these are always difficult, but he receives his information over time. For the family, as it did Wednesday, it can come all at once.
Ryan Robinson, 31, is charged with murdering his girlfriend in April — hours after neighbors sent police to his Murray home because of reports that he was punching her and shortly before responding officers shot him as he was running away.
Brian Bench said he met Robinson in May 2011 while teaching him in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program at Fortis College. He was invested in seeing Robinson finish the program to the point that he asked for permission from his superiors to transport Robinson to and from the college.
On April 9, after giving Robinson a ride home, Bench said Robinson gave him a tour of his house. At one point, he took Bench to the basement where he showcased a gun he had received for his birthday.
Robinson asked Bench for a ride to a home supply store to buy a piece of glass for a broken table. Upon their return, they found it wasn't a fit and Robinson and Reid started to argue "because it was taking so long."
Bench said he felt uncomfortable and left for a mutual friend's house. He was there when the friend answered a phone call from Robinson. He could hear only pieces of the conversation until the friend repeated what Robinson allegedly said.
"Now did you say that you shot her or you think you shot her?" Bench recounted. "I immediately called 911. He openly said that so I would hear it."
Murray police officer David Stallings was 15 minutes into his patrol shift when he was called to 6340 S. 725 East to conduct a welfare check because of a report that a woman may have been shot. Stallings parked just south of the home when a woman in a driveway across the street flagged him down and a man down the road also asked to talk to him.
Stallings approached the woman first, prompting the man to wave the officer away and continue walking.
"Something's up with that guy — the guy you were just talking to," Stallings recalled the woman telling him. "She said he'd been pacing up and down the street, tossing beer cans into yards and the last thing she said was she thought he had a gun in the back of his pants."
Stallings said he began to suspect this was the "Ryan" he was looking for and called out to the man, who responded briefly before taking off running. Stallings said he drew his weapon when he lost sight of the man and kept it out until the man returned into view.
He said he couldn't see Robinson's hands and repeatedly asked the man to show them. Stallings said Robinson took one empty hand from his pocket before bringing the other hand from behind his back, holding the gun under his own chin.
"I started walking toward him, telling him to drop the gun," Stallings said. "He started to dance with the gun under his chin, then he put the gun by his side and racked his weapon."
Robinson then started running again, with Stallings following behind trying to get the man to drop the gun. After one command, Stallings said Robinson stopped, turned and pointed the gun directly at him.
"I fired two shots," Stalling said. "He was going to shoot me ... or try to."
One bullet struck Robinson in the abdomen and he hit the ground, swearing at the officer, who said he saw blood begin to seep through the man's shirt. Stallings asked Robinson where his girlfriend was.
"He said she was at the house ... he said he had shot her," Stallings said, adding that he related that to dispatchers. "That's when he commented, 'That's not what I said. That's not what I said. I said I accidentally shot her' — which is not what he said."
Stallings was still there when Robinson was arrested and taken to the hospital. He waited with the weapon until other officers arrived.
"I was looking at it thinking, 'Why did I have to do this?'" he said.
He left the scene within 10 to 15 minutes and was later placed on administrative leave while the shooting was investigated. Prosecutors ultimately determined that Stallings' actions were justified. He has since taken a job as an investigator with the Utah Attorney General's Office.
Murray police detective Troy McCombe was called to investigate Reid's death. He testified that he walked through the main floor of the home and found several bloody footprints, blood on a cordless phone and a notepad next to a what appeared to be a pen with blood on it.
"I'm sorry, this was an accident, so will be the next," he recalled the notes reading. "Accident. I love you."
Reid's body was found near the basement stairs. McCombe said it appeared Reid was six to eight stairs up when she was shot and that there were two unused bullets and one spent shell near her body.
McCombe interviewed Robinson once he was released from the hospital and was told the argument was sparked by Robinson's trip to the liquor store. He told the detective he and Reid were planning to marry and that he tried to kill himself when he was confronted by Stallings.
"He didn't want to talk about what happened with Shantelle," McCombe said.
Dr. Julie Adams, assistant medical examiner for Utah, said Reid was shot below her right ear lobe. She said there was a searing mark left by the weapon, indicating the gun was touching the woman's skin.
Adams said there were also multiple bruises on Reid's arms, legs and torso.
Officers had responded to the home earlier in the day after neighbors reported seeing Robinson pull Reid's hair and punch her in the face. But police said the couple told responding officers that it was an argument and nothing else. When McCombe searched through the home after Reid's death, there was a business card from the Murray victim's advocate program.
Third District Judge Randall Skanchy will make a determination Friday on whether there is sufficient evidence to order Robinson to stand trial for murder, a first-degree felony, aggravated assault and possession of a deadly weapon by a restricted person, third-degree felonies.
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