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Judge raises bail to $1M for teen accused of fatally beating girlfriend

Judge raises bail to $1M for teen accused of fatally beating girlfriend

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SALT LAKE CITY — Noting that the stakes are a lot higher now for a teenager who has been moved from juvenile court to the adult court system, a 3rd District judge on Monday raised the bail for the boy accused of killing Anne Kasprzak to $1 million.

Darwin Chris Bagshaw, 17, was 14 when he allegedly beat his 15-year-old girlfriend to death. He was charged with murder and later certified to stand trial as an adult. He will turn 18 in about four weeks.

When he was transferred to the adult court, bail was set at $100,000.

On Monday, 3rd District Judge James T. Blanch agreed with prosecutors that bail needed to be raised to $1 million.

Defense attorney Chris Bown objected and noted that his client has shown no sign of fleeing since the murder investigation began. When Bagshaw moved to Colorado after Kasprzak was killed, he informed Draper police that he was leaving the state even though he had not been arrested at that time, Bown said. Furthermore, he noted that Bagshaw did not have any dealings with the juvenile court system in Colorado after he moved.

"To say he's not going to come back, he's going to flee, there's no evidence of that," Bown argued, while also adding, "It's not like he's been out hurting other people."

But Blanch agreed with Salt Lake County deputy district attorney Peter Leavitt who argued "the stakes are now higher."

If he had been convicted in juvenile court, Bagshaw would have been kept in juvenile detention until he turned 21. Now that he's facing a murder charge in 3rd District Court, he could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison if he's convicted.

"That changes things. That's a game changer," Leavitt said, adding that the incentive to flee is greater now.

This type of charge and these types of circumstances, $100,000 bail is completely and entirely inappropriate.

–Peter Leavitt, SL County deputy district attorney

Leavitt also noted that there was "quite a bit of evidence that the defendant is the person that committed that crime," and the judge agreed that he is accused of a particularly violent killing.

"This type of charge and these types of circumstances, $100,000 bail is completely and entirely inappropriate," Leavitt argued.

Bagshaw is accused of luring Kasprzak to an isolated spot along the Jordan River Parkway in 2012 at night, violently beating her to the point she suffered numerous skull fractures, and then dumping her lifeless body into the Jordan River.

At Monday's hearing, Veronica Kasprzak, the victim's mother, was allowed to briefly address the judge. She also advocated for the $1 million bail, noting that Bagshaw didn't start cooperating with authorities until after he was arrested. She, too, expressed concerns that Bagshaw could flee if he was able to post bail.

"I'm afraid if he gets out, he has no reason to stay," she said. "He faces a lot of consequences."

After bail was set at $1 million, Bown asked that his client be arraigned right then rather than wait for a previously scheduled hearing later this month. Bagshaw stood at the podium with Bown, waived the reading of the charges and entered a not guilty plea. He also waived his right to a speedy trial as Bown indicated he had a lot of work to do to prepare for trial.

"Yes, that's fine," Bagshaw said in a clear voice.

Bagshaw's father was in the courtroom to observe Monday's hearing. Bown said it was unlikely the teen's family would be able to come up with $1 million bail.

Bagshaw's next hearing is scheduled for July 17.


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Pat Reavy


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