Man sentenced to life for killing of 15-year-old Utah girl

Baleigh Bagshaw, 15, of Salt Lake City, Utah. [Image credit: Facebook]

15-year-old Baleigh Bagshaw was on the phone with her mother on May 7, 2018 as she returned home from school and according to investigators, never had a chance to react as she was attacked.


Shaun Patrick French, 26, had broken into their home when he knew everyone would be away, and waited for Baleigh to return home.  The attack was so brutal that in slashing her throat he nearly decapitated her according to court documents.


“Her mother Shawna was left on the open line, listening to her daughter die,” Richard Pehrson, assistant district attorney for Salt Lake County said during Tuesday's sentencing.


At the time of her killing, French was the subject of a warrant that had been issued for unlawful sexual activities.


French had been allowed to live in the Bagshaw home from January to July of 2017 as a favor because he was a family friend.  When he was 23, and Baleigh merely 14, he had manipulated her and engaged in a sexual relationship with her, knowing it was illegal because of her age.


“Shaun was way too manipulative to a young girl,” Baleigh’s mother, Shawna Bagshaw said. “I never want him to be able to do that again.”


Baleigh told her mother that French had been having sex with her on May 2nd and that was when the harassment began.  According to the Salt Lake Tribune, that day alone French called her 13 times.  Shortly thereafter, Shawna received explicit images of her daughter from a new social media account.


At that time, Baleigh and her mother began to discuss reporting French and filing for a restraining order.


“Baleigh is not here today because she was a strong woman, who at the age of 15, said no,” Pehrson said. “And for it, the defendant cut her down.”


On Wednesday July 1st, French pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated murder as a part of a plea deal.  In exchange for his plea, prosecution agreed to not pursue the death penalty and to drop the charges of aggravated burglary, sexual exploitation of a minor, and witness tampering.


French was sentenced to life without parole by 3rd District Judge Paul Parker on August 25th.

Shaun Patrick French, 26, of Salt Lake City, Utah. [Image credit: Salt Lake County Jail]