Family Asks Community To Remember How Lizzy Shelley Lived, Not Focus On Killer
LOGAN, Utah – From inside a Logan courtroom, family members of five-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley didn’t appear to hold back in their feelings towards her killer, Alexander Whipple, as he was sentenced for murdering and sexually assaulting the child in May.
First District Court Judge Kevin Allen essentially threw the book at Whipple Tuesday, sentencing him to one life sentence without a chance for parole for the murder of Shelley, plus three more 25 year-to-life sentences for her kidnapping and sexual assault; each sentence will be served consecutively.
“What you’ve done is pure evil,” said Lizzy’s grandfather Norman Black. “You have offended me, my family, this community.”
“You are filth,” said Zachary Black, who’s an uncle of Lizzy’s. “I hope you spend the rest of your life in a tiny box.”
Alex Whipple, who is Lizzy’s uncle, had been staying with his sister’s family shortly after being released from jail last May when both he and Lizzy disappeared early one morning.
After an exhaustive search by law enforcement and dozens of community volunteers, Whipple finally told police where to find Lizzy’s body in a deal with prosecutors which took the death penalty off the table.
While Lizzy’s mother Jessica Black and other family members were pleased with the judge’s decision, Black asked the community to turn their focus instead to something more positive.
“Today I choose and ask you to choose to not focus on the negative things that have happened and are happening, but instead to live like my beautiful bright, spunky Lizzy,” Black said. “To focus on her and remember the kindness she continues to share with us.”
Black said she couldn’t stand to be in the courtroom with Whipple, but she addressed the media after the sentencing. She also thanked prosecutors, law enforcement and many others from the community who supported her family through the ordeal.
“There’s so much community held together,” Black said. “When you need somebody the most, they step up to the highest level and they’re there for you. And that’s so beautiful of Cache Valley.”
Victim advocates, attorneys and Shelley’s family released several butterflies in memory of Lizzy, who loved rainbows and butterflies.
“For our family, our lives will never be the same,” Black said. “We will never forget our sweet girl, and the happiness, and the sunshine she brought us.”
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