- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A man convicted of beating his girlfriend to death with a shovel when he was 14 will spend at least 18 years in prison, the Utah State Board of Pardons and Parole has decided.

Darwin “Christopher” Bagshaw, now 19, is set to have his first parole hearing in October 2034. A parole board will consider whether to set a release date then, when Bagshaw will be 37 years old, or keep him in prison. He sentence could as long as life in prison.

He pleaded guilty in the death of 15-year-old Anne Kasprzak. He got angry the night in 2012 when she said she was pregnant and they had to run away together, and hit her in the face several times with a shovel, prosecutors said. An exam conducted after her badly beaten body was found floating in the Jordan River showed she wasn’t pregnant, and her family later said she made up the story.

The girl had survived an abusive childhood, going through several foster homes before she was adopted by the Kasprzaks at age 9, her adoptive parents said at Bagshaw’s sentencing in April. The teenager noticed the usually soft-spoken Bagshaw in math class and started imagining a future with him, her mother Veronica Kasprzak said.

Bagshaw apologized to the victim’s family and his own at his sentencing hearing in the murder case. His defense attorneys asked for a shorter sentence, saying he was scared and angry and was too young to process what was happening the night he killed Anne Kasprzak. The judge, though, called the beating unspeakably vicious and handed down a sentence that carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison.

Though Bagshaw was originally charged as a juvenile, prosecutors argued the case was serious enough to go to adult court and a judge agreed.

The girl’s family has said that while Bagshaw was young at the time of the beating, he was responsible for Anne Kasprzak’s death and should serve his sentence in an adult prison.

The homicide investigation was delayed when police arrested two ex-convicts on a fake tip. After they were cleared, police circled back to Bagshaw, who had moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, with his family. Authorities say he lived a relatively normal teenage life in the more-than two years between the crime and his arrest.

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