Murdering someone and also shooting at someone else could soon be prosecuted as two separate crimes, instead of just one count of "aggravated murder" (aggravated by the second shooting).
The Senate unanimously passed SB150 Wednesday and sent it to the House. Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, introduced it after the Utah Supreme Court recently ruled that such crimes committed at the same time cannot be punished as separate offenses.
The action arises out of a November ruling in the case of Trovon Donta Ross, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend, Annie Christensen, in June 2003. Her boyfriend at the time, James May, also was shot.
The Utah Supreme Court ruled Ross should not have been charged with a second count of attempted aggravated murder over the shooting of the boyfriend because the evidence in that count was an aggravating predicate to the first count of aggravated murder.
So he is serving one life sentence instead of two.
Jenkins said his bill would allow charging both offenses separately, so victims will not feel that crimes against them do not go unpunished.
Also, if the aggravated murder charge were ever overturned on appeal, the second offense would still stand under provisions of the bill.