After her cousin was killed by an ex, Utah’s Lt. Gov. says Utah must take action on domestic violence
SANDY, Utah – Cemetery visits conjure up grief and frustration for the Mayne family.
“It’s nice to visit here, but it kind of feels bad to go home, like we’re leaving her here,” said Amos Mayne.
The family struggles to understand how their daughter and sister died from domestic violence, despite a long list of red flags and numerous police reports.
“I know you can’t always prevent all of these situations 100%, but we could do a lot better than what happened to Mandy,” said her mother, Shauna Mayne.
Amanda Mayne, 34, was shot by her ex-husband while she waited for a bus in Taylorsville last August.
What happened to Mandy followed a disturbing pattern that keeps repeating itself in Utah.
One in three Utah women will experience some form of domestic violence in her lifetime. And more than 40% of adult homicides in Utah since 2000 involve domestic violence, according to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.
Mandy told police officers she was scared and wanted a protective order. Her family says with developmental delays, she didn’t always understand the social cues of those who would do her harm.
But family members did recognize the danger and called police multiple times.
Taylor Martin, Mandy’s ex-husband, had a violent history, with a rap sheet that included assaults, terroristic threats and bomb threats to judges. The Utah Department of Public Safety confirmed he even threatened then-Gov. Gary Herbert.
Martin served a stint in jail and probation. Soon after, calls and threats against the Mayne family resumed.
“Did I feel threatened by him? Yes, absolutely,” said Shauna Mayne. “I said he’s going to kill one of us if he doesn’t get locked up several times.”
Final 48 hours
On Monday, Aug. 15, Martin showed up at Mandy’s work in Salt Lake City. Coworkers called police.
Salt Lake City police reports show Mandy told officers she wanted a protective order. An officer wrote down the address to the courthouse.
The report states, “because no criminal conduct occurred, no arrests were made.” Martin was allowed to take an Uber home.
The next day, Salt Lake police responded again, after Martin emailed threats to kill employees. He also texted Mandy, in part, “I hope you get killed.”
The family learned, even though he was a restricted person, he managed to buy a gun and 100 bullets.
The very next day, Wednesday, Martin stalked Mandy to a Taylorsville bus stop in the early morning hours and shot her multiple times. He then shot and killed himself.
Push for change
The heartache that followed has driven the family to push for laws that will better protect others from domestic violence.
What is unique in this case: Mandy is the cousin of Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson.
“This was really a blow. I don’t think there’s any way to prepare yourself for news like this,” said Henderson.
The gaps in domestic violence protocol have now become personal. She is traveling the state, meeting with law enforcement and working with lawmakers for three specific changes.
First, she wants to mandate that police use LAPs, or a Lethality Assessment Program.
In an LAP, officers responding to a domestic violence call ask a series of questions. If a respondent answers yes to the first three, it automatically triggers a referral for help. Officers get in touch with a shelter that can provide a room or cover the cost of a short hotel stay, along with other resources like helping create an escape plan.
“I don’t have any idea if that would have ended up saving Mandy’s life. But I do know that she would have been able to be connected right there on the scene to a victim service provider,” said Henderson.
Retired police officer JC Holt trains police departments to use LAPs and believes they save lives.
“Often times, those who are involved in this don’t have a clear perspective of what’s going on,” said Holt.
KSL surveyed more than 20 law enforcement agencies along the Wasatch Front.
The Salt Lake City Police Department and Unified Police Department were the only to tell us they’re not part of the LAP program.
Unified uses its own three-question survey but said it may soon use the longer assessment in an effort to be consistent with other law enforcement agencies across the state.
A Salt Lake City police spokesperson said the department’s victim advocates are trained in asking the questions, and the agency uses similar evaluations in certain cases, such as attempted strangulation.
“As a department, we strive to find best practices to investigate domestic violence and to provide victims and survivors with as many resources as possible,” police spokesperson Brent Weisberg said.
But Salt Lake City police don’t participate in the statewide program linking police departments to a shelter that finds space for those deemed at high risk.
The department told us they’ve been working through concerns about victim anonymity and shelter capacity and are finalizing an agreement with YWCA Utah. They didn’t provide a timeline.
The second change Henderson is seeking is to establish a better process for law enforcement agencies to share information. Henderson and the state’s advisor on criminal justice believed that could also save lives.
Tom Ross, executive director of Utah’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, believes a combination of systems and personnel could help agencies determine high-risk offenders across jurisdictions.
“If we could connect those dots that would tell law enforcement and the courts a different picture, that, I think, would be a game changer, that would be critical,” Ross said.
Finally, Henderson also wants the state to allocate more money so that when victims are referred, there are shelter resources available.
She’s working on these measures which she hopes lawmakers pass in the upcoming legislative session. She views her unique position as a chance to do right by Mandy and all victims of domestic violence.
“I recognize that, and it’s not lost on me. Not just because this is my family. But because I do represent a lot more than my family,” said Henderson.
Mandy’s family also views this spring as a time of hope. By then, they will have a formal headstone to visit at the cemetery. And they hope, by then, new laws will help others avoid the tragedy that has changed their lives.
For Mandy’s father, it is bittersweet.
“I think it would make (Mandy) smile to know what happened to her might prevent it from happening to someone else,” said Kent Mayne.
Annie Knox and Emiley Dewey contributed research.
Domestic violence resources
If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.
- The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
- Resources are also available online at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.
- In an emergency, call 911
There are several ways the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition can help people. Previous examples include providing financial assistance for funerals, moving, and counseling that helps people find a different path or stay healthy and safe and the relationship they’re in.
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