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Man receives maximum sentence for leaving swimmer to die

By Emiley Morgan | Posted - Jan 23rd, 2013 @ 4:02pm


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OGDEN — A man convicted of hitting a swimmer in Pineview Reservoir and leaving her to die was given the maximum jail sentence Wednesday for his crimes.

Skyler Shepherd, 22, was ordered to serve 2 ½ years in jail for the 2011 death of Esther Fujimoto.

"What you did after this accident was callous, it was reckless and it was absolutely spineless," said 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones, who also chastised Shepherd for not showing any remorse.

In December, a jury convicted Shepherd of reckless endangerment and obstruction of justice, as well as failure to render aid, all misdemeanors, in connection with the Aug. 21, 2011, death of Fujimoto, 49.

Esther Fujimoto was swimming with her sister near the Spring Creek area of Pineview Reservoir when she was struck by a boat allegedly driven by Colton Raines. Shepherd said he took the helm after Raines swerved and turned the boat around to check on the woman. He said Fujimoto told him she was OK and appeared angry, prompting Shepherd, Raines and Robert Cole Boyer to leave.

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Shepherd said he did not realize the woman was injured. Todd Grey, Utah's chief medical examiner, testified that Fujimoto suffered "multiple chopping injuries" consistent with being struck by a propeller and ultimately bled to death.

Defense attorney Glen Neeley argued that his client had no idea what had happened that night and made a mistake. Prosecutors, however, said it is not reasonable to believe the men did not know they had hit and injured Fujimoto.

The cases against Boyer and Raines are set for trial in February. Boyer is facing a charge of obstruction of justice, a class A misdemeanor. Raines is facing the same three charges as Shepherd.

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