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Lori Prichard Reporting A day after his wife's funeral, 59-year-old Sherman Lynch is formally charged with murder. He now faces a first-degree domestic violence murder charge, as well as a second charge of obstructing justice.
Patricia Rothermich was run down by what witnesses described as a white truck as she was walking along a road in her Holladay neighborhood last Wednesday.
The district attorney's office says after Lynch appeared on the news pleading for help in catching his wife's killer, police got a call from a woman who said she was his girlfriend. She also said she was with Lynch at the time he purchased a white truck.
Through further investigation detectives found that Lynch did indeed purchase a white 1993 Chevy pickup truck on Aug. 25. Witnesses reported seeing him painting this truck within a week prior to the incident.
On Oct. 5, sheriff's deputies were called to an abandoned vehicle within a mile of Lynch's residence. The vehicle was the same 1993 white Chevy pickup truck purchased by the defendant.
The truck was found in the garage of an abandoned house with plywood boards stacked in front to cover it. It had front-end damage and a strike mark on the hood that was consistent with being the vehicle that struck Rothermich.
At the time, detectives also found white paint residue on the grill of the truck that was consistent both in type and location of the paint found on Rothermich's clothing.
Even though Lynch had some past run-ins with law enforcement, Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller says she expects to prosecute the case and not strike a plea deal. "Given the facts of this case, I would not expect any type of plea deal early on in the case. It depends on a lot of factors, but it's our intent to aggressively prosecute this as a domestic violence homicide," she said.
Miller says the girlfriend is not currently being investingated as an accomplice and that she is working with police.
Miller also says both Lynch's and Rothermich's families are working with investigators, but she says it's Lynch who is not cooperating. "He stated to officers that he only owned a white Astrostar van and that he was at Costco at the time his wife was struck. The defendant stated that there was no problems in his marriage," Miller said.
Lynch sits in jail on a bond set at over $1 million. His first court appearance is expected to be this Friday. If convicted, he faces 15 years to life in prison.