LEHI Bitter tears stinging faces red from emotion and the winter chill, friends of a woman slain Sunday spent Monday honoring her memory by wrapping pink ribbons around trees, fences and posts in her Lehi neighborhood.
Witnesses say David Lester Ragsdale, 35, shot his wife in the back several times and once in the head, killing Kristy Koreen Ragsdale on her 30th birthday and endangering others in a Mormon church parking lot in Lehi.
One witness said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound man then stood directly over his estranged wife three days after he was served with divorce papers and shot her more than once from very close range. A total of 10 shots were fired.
A prosecutor said Monday the state is considering a capital murder charge against David Ragsdale.
When she filed a request for a temporary protective order in early December, Kristy Ragsdale had stated that her 35-year-old husband had "threatened to use his gun several times."
Those and other details emerged Monday while Kristy Ragsdale's neighbors remained in shock a day after they heard of her sudden and violent death on her 30th birthday. The shooting took place just after 11 a.m. in the parking lot of a ward house of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1631 E. 900 North.
In a statement issued Monday through a spokesman, the LDS Church expressed shock and sympathy about the events that led to Ragsdale's death.
"We are shocked and dismayed at the senseless act of violence that took the life of Sister Kristy Koreen Ragsdale and shattered the peace and endangered hundreds of worshippers on a quiet Sabbath morning," said Scott Trotter, a church spokesman. "Our sympathy and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this tragedy, especially the family and friends of all those involved. We pray they will find peace and comfort in the promises of the Lord, that death is not final, and that life is eternal."
Ragsdale surrendered to Lehi police and was arrested for investigation of aggravated capital murder. He was booked into the Utah County Jail on Sunday at 11:15 p.m.
"I will miss her friendship the most," said neighbor Susan Radi, who was helping put up the pink ribbons." She was so easy and open to talk to."
Susan's daughter, Ashley Radi, said Kristy Ragsdale was a good friend, easy to talk to, eager to listen. "She was great," Ashley Radi said.
Like other folks in the Lehi neighborhood, many of whom attend the Lehi 17th Ward, the Radis remained stunned at the events that led to Kristy Ragsdale's death.
Kristy Ragsdale, had already been to church earlier that morning for an interview with her Mormon bishop but left to go pick up her mother, Ann Palizzi, 56.
When they arrived at the church, a few minutes after the morning sacrament meeting started, she stepped out of her minivan onto the icy pavement. That's when David Ragsdale stepped out of his silver BMW and brandished his gun, police said.
Lehi Police Sgt. Jeff Swenson said there were several witnesses to the shooting. "And they've told us he didn't say a word. He just quickly walked up to her and a fired a series of rounds."
David Ragsdale had moved out of the couple's Lehi home on Oct. 30, but she described in court documents an incident on Dec. 3 when she said her husband came to the home and persuaded their son to unlock the door.
He "came in screaming profanities and telling us to get out of his house," she wrote. He called police and asked them to throw his sister and her mom out of the home along with the children.
Ragsdale's brother John and one of his sisters arrived at the home, and Kristy Ragsdale wrote that her husband told them "he had a gun in the car and that he could use that to take care of things and refered (sic) to his gun more than once."
During David Ragsdale's court hearing Monday morning, 4th District Judge Samuel McVey ordered him held without bail. Prosecutor Guy Probert said the state is considering a capital murder charge because a stray bullet could have struck Palizzi, who was standing six feet away. Stray shots also could have struck a nearby home, a witness and two young boys who were walking about 20 to 30 feet away and two other men about 30 to 40 feet away.
David Ragsdale was taking the anti-depressant medications Doxepin and Paroxetine, a testosterone medication and sleep aids, police and prosecutors told the judge.
"It is feared that he might harm the victim's mother and/or his children if he were to be released from custody," Lehi Police Officer Jared Martinsen wrote in an affidavit provided to the judge.
McVey set another hearing for Jan. 14.
The temporary protective order protected not only Kristy Ragsdale but her mother and her two young sons, Brandon, 4, and Carter, 19 months.
The boys were not at the church at the time of the shooting.
"He aggressively said emotional abusive things to the children," Kristy Ragsdale wrote, describing threats she said her husband made in front of the children, her mother, her brother Kyle Palizzi and other family members on Dec. 3.
On Dec. 20, she agreed to drop the protective order in exchange for a mutual restraining order as part of the divorce case.
Police said Ragsdale fled the scene Sunday morning. The congregation's leader, Bishop James Davidson, canceled the remainder of the Sunday services.
Lehi police and the Utah County sheriff immediately dispatched a SWAT team to search for the shooter, establishing a wide perimeter around the church, law enforcement officials said.
David Ragsdale drove to his brother's home about eight miles to the north in the Traverse Mountain area. Forty-five minutes later the search ended when David Ragsdale's brother called Lehi Police Chief Chad Smith and reported that David Ragsdale was sitting next to him at his home.
Smith said he never spoke to David Ragsdale on the phone but "managed to talk him into turning himself in" using the brother as an intermediary.
The brother drove David Ragsdale to the Lehi police station where officers arrested him at about 12:20 p.m. and questioned him for about five hours, police said later.
"I saw him down at the station," an officer said at the crime scene. "He just looked blank. Just sitting there staring."
Late Sunday night, police recovered a 9mm Glock handgun at the residence of Ragsdale's brother, Swenson said.
Neighbors said the couple seemed unhappy in the past, even before their separation just after Thanksgiving.
"As soon as I heard that she had been shot, I couldn't help but think he's done something horrible, because of comments she's made about being unhappy," said neighbor Carolee Courter, 32, who's also going through a divorce.
Courter said she and Kristy Ragsdale would talk about and confide in each other about their divorces.
"She was very resolved and relived (after the separation)," Courter said.
Other nearby neighbors described David Ragsdale as intellectual and impassive.