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West Valley woman shares details of hammer attack

Posted - Sep. 16, 2010 at 9:39 p.m.



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WEST VALLEY CITY -- A West Valley City woman who was beaten with a hammer by her neighbor Wednesday afternoon is recovering and talking about the attack.


I just kept saying, 'Please don't kill me.' That's all I could say; and he didn't say anything to me. He never said anything to me.

–Ashley Forsland


Ashley Forsland, 22, was outside her apartment at the Somerset Village complex near 3800 South and Redwood Road when her 16-year-old neighbor offered her a cigarette. The boy, whom she had met just once before, asked her to follow him into his apartment.

Once inside, Forsland said the teen suddenly started beating her in the head with a hammer. She tried to block the blows and broke her thumb.

Forsland said thoughts of her children kept her fighting.

"I just kept saying, 'Please don't kill me,' Forsland recalled. "That's all I could say; and he didn't say anything to me. He never said anything to me."

Forsland said she screamed for the teen to stop and asked him what he wanted, if it was sex. That's when she said he stopped hitting her and started hugging her.

Ashley Forsland broke her thumb while attempting to protect her head as her teenage neighbor was beating her with a hammer.
Ashley Forsland broke her thumb while attempting to protect her head as her teenage neighbor was beating her with a hammer.

She escaped and ran to her neighbor's house, who happens to be an EMT.

"She was losing a lot of blood," neighbor Shawn Hauenstein said. "I tried as fast as I could to look through her hair the best I could, but there was so much I just had to stop the bleeding."

When neighbors saw Forsland come out of the apartment and heard her scream for help, they chased the suspect. The teen put up a fight, but the group was able to tackle him and hold him until police arrived.

"Normally we don't encourage citizens to get involved in detaining some suspect. Nowadays you just never know if they have guns, knives, needles, whatever they have. In this case it turned out OK," said West Valley police Sgt. Chad Evans.

Police arrested the teenager. Forsland said detectives told her he confessed that his plan was to rape and murder her.

One neighbor, Kelly Evans, said she's been close with the teen's family but has never felt comfortable around the suspect. She said every time she was in the family's apartment, the teen would try to get close to her.


Obviously to lure somebody into a confined area and then to attack them viciously and violently with a hammer and to sustain serious injuries is a very egregious crime.

–Sgt. Mike Powell


"We would go in and help him, and he would just act weird and would pace back and forth and do weird stuff all the time," she said. "Take the garbage out, run around and just act weird like he wanted to hurt me."

West Valley detectives are screening the case with the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, which will decided if the teen will be charged as a juvenile or an adult.

"Looking at the situation, what's involved, the charges are very appropriate," said West Valley police Sgt. Mike Powell. "Obviously, to lure somebody into a confined area and then to attack them viciously and violently with a hammer, and to sustain serious injuries, is a very egregious crime."

The suspect was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on charges of attempted murder, aggravated kidnapping and attempted aggravated sexual assault.

As for Forsland, she was treated at the hospital for several contusions on the head and released. She has staples throughout her head and stitches above her eye.

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Story compiled with contributions from Jennifer Stagg, Shara Park and Paul Nelson.

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