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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake woman was charged Wednesday with murder and accused of firing several shots at her girlfriend to stop her from riding away on a bicycle.
Patrice Ann Winward, 31, is charged in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony; possession of a gun by a restricted person and obstructing justice, second-degree felonies; and six counts of illegal discharge of a firearm, which is a third-degree felony.
Winward was riding bicycles with her girlfriend, 31-year-old Nicole Carter, near 900 W. South Temple at about 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 17. Witnesses told police the two were involved in a "heated verbal argument" and yelling obscenities at each other, according to charging documents.
Carter appeared to be trying to get away from Winward when Winward fired several shots, the charges state.
A police booking affidavit says Winward told detectives she got into an argument and was "shooting multiple shots towards the victim in order to prevent her from leaving."
"Winward heard the victim scream out and then upon approach, realized she was injured and observed Nicole go unconscious," court documents state.
Police arrived to find Winward performing CPR on Carter. Emergency responders, however, pronounced Carter dead at the scene. Shortly after, Winward claimed she had a "medical emergency" at her residence and left the scene, according to police.
Officers followed her and eventually detained her. Detectives learned that shortly after the shooting, Winward handed the gun to another person and told that person to "dispose of the handgun in the storm drain," the charges allege. A gun was recovered from the storm drain by detectives.
Seven shell casings were recovered by investigators at the scene. An autopsy determined that Carter was shot once in the torso.
Prosecutors noted in charging documents that Winward has "a significant criminal history in Utah" and was paroled in 2017 but was sent back to the Utah State Prison in 2018.
"(Her) criminal history and ability to continually obtain firearms, even while she is a restricted person, put the community at risk," prosecutors said in charging documents while requesting Winward be held without bail.
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:
- Utah Domestic Violence Coalition: Utah's confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
- YWCA Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600
- Utah's statewide child abuse and neglect hotline: 1-855-323-DCFS (3237)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233