- Associated Press - Saturday, June 21, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A mother says she’s pleased a former West Valley City police officer has been charged in her daughter’s shooting death, but wishes he faced a more serious charge.

Melissa Kennedy of Vancouver, Washington, said she thinks Shaun Cowley should have been charged with murder in the death of her 21-year-old daughter Danielle Willard during a November 2012 drug investigation.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced Thursday that a single count of manslaughter had been filed against the 33-year-old former narcotics officer.

“To me it was murder, it was downright murder. Yeah, he should have been charged with murder,” Kennedy told the Deseret News (https://bit.ly/1nshq20 ) on Friday. “But as far as what could be done to have a good chance of conviction, I’m OK with manslaughter. I guess the bottom line is yeah, I’m happy he’s being charged.”

Cowley fired at the unarmed Willard as she backed her car out of an apartment complex parking spot. He contended his life was in danger, but Gill said that’s not the case because Cowley was standing on the side of the woman’s car.

Cowley’s attorney Lindsay Jarvis has called Gill’s decision to prosecute the former officer “incredibly disappointing” and said Cowley continues to maintain his innocence.

Kennedy said her satisfaction over the filing of the charge is tempered by her daughter’s death.

“I don’t want to jump up and shout, ‘Hooray, hooray,’ because in the end, my daughter is not coming back no matter what happens to him or what happens in this case,” she said. “Do I want him to pay for it? Yes, I do, because he’s the one who killed her.”

Cowley is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on July 7. He was released from the Salt Lake County Jail on Thursday after posting $10,000 bail.


Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com

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