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RIVERDALE — A man's fatal shooting of his girlfriend in February was justified by self-defense, but an investigation into the killing revealed he was responsible for drug and weapons offenses, leading to his arrest Tuesday, police said.
Scott Sandlin, 41, told investigators "he feared for his life and acted in self-defense when he shot" his girlfriend, Jenna Manuel, 30, in their home Feb. 7, Riverdale Police Lt. Casey Warren said in a statement Tuesday.
"According to (Sandlin), as he was trying to leave, (Manuel) grabbed a knife and advanced toward him in a threatening manner. … Evidence collected at the scene corroborated (Sandlin's) statement," Warren said.
According to a search warrant issued in February, Manuel was shot twice in the chest and once in the stomach. Officers found a butcher knife in her hand, Warren said. The knife's blade, not its handle, was in Manuel's partially open palm, the police affidavit says.
A search of the home during the homicide investigation yielded a rifle, shotgun and two pistols, as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to Warren. A sample of Sandlin's blood at the time of the killing allegedly tested positive for THC, the active ingredient of marijuana.
Sandlin was booked Tuesday into the Weber County Jail for investigation of four counts of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and child endangerment, both felonies, as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, which are misdemeanors.
Warren said Tuesday that Sandlin was legally "restricted … from possessing firearms" at the time of the shooting due to the marijuana in his system. The marijuana and drug paraphernalia were throughout the home and "within reach of the child," he said.
Manuel's 9-year-old daughter was inside the Riverdale home at 4400 Parker Drive when the shooting occurred, police said in the search warrant. The girl reported she was in her bedroom and heard four gunshots after her mother and Sandlin had been "arguing about finances and how (Manuel) pays all of the bills while (Sandlin) sits and watches TV all day," according to the warrant.
Riverdale police also sought DNA, shell casings, computers, tablets and cellphones from the home as part of their search. Prior to the shooting, Riverdale police had never responded to any domestic incidents involving Manuel or Sandlin, Warren said.
"This is a tragic event for the families, friends and the community," he said. "(The) Riverdale Police Department expresses our sincere condolences."
Sandlin had not been formally charged as of Tuesday. According to court records, his prior criminal history in Utah is minimal outside of minor traffic violations. He paid a fine for disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor, in 2000.