With Death Penalty Off the Table Cache Attorney Vows to Seek ‘Harshest Penalties Possible,’ Against Alex Whipple

May 30, 2019, 6:35 PM

LOGAN, Utah — Taking the death penalty “off the table” for Alexander Whipple, in the murder of his 5 year-old niece Elizabeth (Lizzy) Shelley, was a decision that Cache County Attorney James Swink said he did not take lightly.

He told KSL TV exclusively today that he only made the decision after reaching out to Lizzy’s family.

“We reached out to the mother of Lizzy and learned that her highest priority was to get her daughter’s body back,” Swink said. “It’s such an important piece to the family, that it warranted us agreeing to negotiate a settlement in this case.”

Cache County Attorney James Swink

Cache County Attorney James Swink

Swink said Whipple’s defense attorney Shannon Demler reached out to him with the offer Wednesday. Swink points out that a strong case is what ultimately led to that option becoming available.

“State and local government have worked so hard to develop the kind of evidence that allowed us to file criminal charges that also led us to being able to file a capitol murder charge,” Swink said. “Without that capitol murder charge, finding that body in a timely manner would not have happened.”

Swink said finding the body days after Lizzy went missing turned out to be important in allowing the family to grieve how they want.

“Without the weather conditions, where they’ve been unseasonably cool, and the location of her body her body would not have been found in such a good condition,” Swink explained. “Had we waited, that body obviously would not be in the kind of condition that her family in a funeral in whatever way that they wanted to, and at this point they can move forward with a viewing and other things if they so desire.”

Alex Whipple

Staffers at Swink’s office told KSL Thursday that additional charges are possible now that Lizzy’s body has been found.

“It is not a small thing for us to consider taking that off the table,” Swink said. “With that said, we will seek the harshest penalties possible that’s available to us, which will now be life without the possibility of parole.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The sewer line rapid assessment tool or SL-RAT in use in a Salt Lake City street,...
Shelby Lofton

Singing sewer technology saves water for Utah

Singing technology is being used underground across Utah, saving the state a lot of water.
20 hours ago
A holy bible and crucifix rest atop the United States Constitution and American flag, which is embl...
Canice Madsen & Boyd Matheson

‘A More Perfect Union’: Upholding the Constitution

Many people from across the political spectrum believe the Constitution is in crisis. In the upcoming KSL Special ‘A More Perfect Union', Boyd Matheson takes a closer look at how we as individuals can uphold the guiding principles of the Constitution.
20 hours ago
Rocky Mountain Power hosted an all-electric vehicle auto show Tuesday. (KSL TV)...
Jed Boal

‘We’re right at that spot where it’s about to take off’: This might be the time for EVs

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding electric vehicles these days, and more of them on Utah roads. Rocky Mountain Power hosted an electric vehicle car show Tuesday to show off the latest options.
20 hours ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Human-caused wildfires went from 893 to 450 in two years

The last two wildfire seasons in Utah show signs progress of reducing the number of human-caused fires.
20 hours ago
Parent Kristen Pexton said the SHARP survey gave an insight into what's happening with her teenager...
Mike Anderson

How helpful is Utah’s SHARP survey? Parents have just days to give input

Utah parents have one more week to give their feedback on the State Board of Education's decision to pull its support for the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey, otherwise known as SHARP.
20 hours ago
Enjoying the outdoors can take special skills, but a new program hopes to educate more Utahns so th...
Karah Brackin

‘Becoming Outdoor Women’ aims to empower Utah women with outdoor skills

Through “Becoming Outdoor Women,” a nonprofit educational program new to the state, the goal is for Utah women to develop confidence in those skills and, in turn, themselves.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
With Death Penalty Off the Table Cache Attorney Vows to Seek ‘Harshest Penalties Possible,’ Against Alex Whipple