I know I've been in trouble in the past, but your honor, I'm no killer. —Daniel Robert Lehi Ferry in letter to Judge Elizabeth Mills
DRAPER — The man accused of killing a 15-year-old Herriman girl says he is innocent and doesn't understand why he is still in jail.
Daniel Robert Lehi Ferry, 31, was arrested March 19 in connection with the death of 15-year-old Anne Grace Kasprzak, who police believe was murdered and her body dumped in the Jordan River.
He has remained in the Salt Lake County Jail since his arrest, but has not been charged with her death. Prosecutors, however, have filed other unrelated charges against him that have kept him behind bars.
Ferry, however, believes he is being unfairly held and unjust restrictions have been placed on him.
This week, Ferry sent a letter to Judge Elizabeth Mills, telling her: "I know I've been in trouble in the past, but your honor, I'm no killer."
On March 22, Ferry pleaded guilty to driving with no proof of insurance, a class B misdemeanor, and driving with an expired license, a class C misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail. After that sentence was served, Ferry remained in jail for a drug distribution charge from November when his original bail was reinstated.
On May 1, Ferry was charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony. The crimes happened on March 10, the same day Kasprzak was killed. But the alleged victim in this case is another woman whom Ferry allegedly kidnapped and tortured because he claimed she owed him money.
Ferry is currently being held in jail on $1 million bail for the murder investigation and $500,000 on the kidnapping charge.
After the kidnapping charge was filed, strict communication restrictions were placed on Ferry. Prosecutors filed a motion to temporarily restrict Ferry's access to using the phone, receiving mail and his visitation privileges. Prosecutors said Ferry was a "known high ranking" gang member and wanted to prevent any witness tampering or witness retaliation.
Now, in a three-page letter to the judge overseeing the kidnapping case, Ferry questions his restrictions and his treatment in custody, claiming that "dirty tactics" have been used against him by prosecutors.
But Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said that's not true.
"We can't hold people. The court won't let us hold anybody without a basis of a charge or a sentencing he's serving," Gill said.
Ferry claims the restrictions were placed on him because of the acts of private investigators in the case who went to interview witnesses.
"I was not at fault but am still being punished," he wrote.
Ferry said he has not been able to talk to his wife or family since the restrictions were enacted. He also questions being continuously held in jail despite facing no charges in the teen's death. He believes the state is using the courthouse and the jail "as its own playground."
"Your honor, I was under the assumption that in the eyes of the law I'm supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. But to my dismay I've been treated anything but," Ferry wrote.
He told the judge he wants a "fast and speedy trial."
"I've been through the mud on the news. Mentally I've taken a serious beat(ing) in here," he wrote. "I've never been charged (60 days later) but now a separate incident on the same day at the same time they said I had supposedly had killed someone. Your honor, all I want is to be treated the way I'm suppost (sic) to be treated."
Ferry claims officers have told other inmates he raped and killed a 15-year-old girl, according to the letter, resulting in threats against him by other inmates as well as verbal abuse by jailers.
"I don't complain. I don't cry. I hold my head up high because I know I've done nothing," he wrote. "I'm a drug addict. That's my crime."
Ferry ends the letter by saying he has "lost everything without being given due process" and asks the judge to lift the restrictions on him so his family can visit him in jail.
Veronica and James Bratcher, Kasprzak's mother and stepfather, issued a statement Wednesday about Ferry's letter, saying they support prosecutors' efforts to balance his rights and still protect the public.
"It is our understanding that Mr. Ferry's current incarceration and contact restrictions are related to various behaviors and concerns directly linked to him," the couple wrote.
They said they continue to struggle to understand their daughter's death.
"We have been asked if we are frustrated that charges have not been filed yet regarding her murder. Honestly, we are frustrated and angry and sad and overwhelmed with her murder. After that, charges are a small consolation in comparison to the loss of a daughter we remember every day," the Bratchers said.
"While we wonder every day why she was killed, we suspect there will never be a good enough answer to console the many lives that must go on without her that have been forever changed by our loss."
According to investigators, Kasprzak was at Ferry's house, 9997 S. Poppy Lane (865 East), with several other people, when the teen rejected Ferry's sexual advances. She was then allegedly beaten, wrapped in a tarp and taken to the Jordan River Parkway where her face was beaten to the point of being unrecognizable. Her body was found March 11 in the Jordan River.
Elements of that crime are similar to the kidnapping charge Ferry faces. According to court documents in that case, a woman told police she was knocked unconscious, bound and carried away with a blanket over her head to a home in Salt Lake County where she was forced to stand in front of a dart board and darts were thrown at her. Her head was also shaved and she was allegedly beaten.
Veanuia Vehekite, 30, was also arrested for investigation of murder in connection with Kazprzak's death. He, too, has been held on unrelated charges since his arrest but has not been charged directly in the killing.
Police on Wednesday said they were still working the case, which is considered an active investigation, but would not discuss the facts of case.