UTAH STATE PRISON — David Thomas Schofield is serving a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for illegal possession of a gun.
But as Adult Probation and Parole member Denise Porter pointed out to Schofield during his parole hearing on Feb. 12, the charge doesn't accurately reflect what really happened that night.
On June 13, 2015, 20-year-old Bradley Stewart Wenneberg, who battled depression and suicidal thoughts, went to Schofield's Logan home seeking help.
Instead, Schofield handed a gun to Wenneberg and told him, "If you're going to do it, then pull the (expletive) trigger," he said.
Wenneberg took the .38-caliber handgun, put it to his temple and fired, according to police.
Schofield was convicted of illegally possessing the gun, a second-degree felony, and negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor.
In a recording of his parole hearing at the Utah State Prison, Wenneberg's father and stepmother asked Porter to keep Schofield, now 51, incarcerated.
"I don't think enough time has passed to grant freedom," said Brad Wenneberg Sr. "I feel that the community would be at risk if parole is granted at this time. I believe we need more time to evaluate this inmate to make 100 percent sure this doesn't happen to another innocent soul."
"He is a threat to the public and should remain incarcerated for the full 15 years, which is a slap on his hand," concurred Alaina Carerra. "I feel like his heart is black, he has no soul, and does not have any remorse."
Neither Wenneberg or Carerra said Schofield's name when speaking, only referring to him by his inmate number.
When asked if he had any response to their comments, Schofield apologized to the family.
"I definitely feel sorry for the things I've done. And I know no amount of apology that can make up for what I've done," he said. "There is no excuse. There's none."
Schofield, who has a history of psychological struggles of his own, told Porter he has been "trying to get back on the right track" while in prison by being put on the right medication and getting into treatment. He said he struggles with "auditory hallucination."
"It kicks into my head and then it just constantly feeds content negativity, tells me I want to hurt people, just flip out, just punch 'em, just do whatever, just get 'em away from you," he said. "This is how my head thinks when I'm not on my medication, and sometimes when I'm on my medication."
Schofield admitted that he has a hard time being around people, which he says is "stressful" and can trigger the voices in his head. He said to be successful once he is released, he has to stay on his medication and get into therapy.
"You need to get stable," Porter told him. "Your behavior was completely inexcusable."
Porter also acknowledged Schofield had been making efforts to improve himself while in prison.
The full five member board will now vote on whether to grant parole. A decision was expected two to three weeks after the hearing.
- Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433
- Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
- Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
Warning signs of suicide
- Talking about wanting to die
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
What to do if you see warning signs of suicide
- Do not leave the person alone
- Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional