Judge allows woman charged with murdering professional bull rider to be released on bail

Nov 30, 2023, 4:38 PM | Updated: 4:48 pm

Demetrius Omar Lateef (Bull Stock Media)...

Demetrius Omar Lateef (Bull Stock Media)

(Bull Stock Media)

SALT LAKE CITY — A 23-year-old woman who has been in jail in Utah for 11 months on charges of murdering a professional bull rider is now returning to her home in Texas after a Utah judge let her out on bail Thursday.

But the mother of man she is accused of killing asked the judge to keep the woman in jail.

Third District Judge Mark Kouris said he doesn’t think Lashawn Denise Bagley is a danger to the community, and the shooting sounds like it is a “completely one-off” and, like many other cases, is “kind of a fluke.”

Salt Lake police responded to the shooting on Sept. 12, 2022, near 900 South and 200 West and found 27-year-old Demetrius Allen with a gunshot wound. Allen was taken to the hospital where he later died.

The shooting occurred just hours after Allen competed in a rodeo at the Utah State Fairpark. Allen was known by fans as “Ouncie Mitchell,” according to a statement from Professional Bull Riders CEO Sean Gleason.

Bagley was arrested in the Houston area after a few months of investigation by members of the Southern District of Texas U.S. Marshals Service who were acting on information provided by Salt Lake police in early 2023.

She is charged with murder and felony discharge of a firearm, first-degree felonies, and eight counts of felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony.

She had been in an “on-again, off-again domestic relationship” with Allen, according to Salt Lake police, who said the shooting took place where Bagley lived and she was on the phone with a 911 operator during the shooting. Police said they believe Bagley fired her handgun multiple times and that she was upset with Allen because of his interest in Bagley’s friend.

Bagley appeared in court on Thursday for a justification hearing, where she would have a chance to present evidence that she acted in self-defense. If her attorneys showed evidence of self-defense, prosecutors would need to reach a higher standard to keep the criminal charges or the case could be dismissed.

The prosecutor assigned to the case, however, was sick Thursday so that hearing was postponed, which led Bagley’s attorney, Sherry Valdez, to ask the judge to consider releasing her. She said Bagley had never been in jail before the shooting death and has a stable supportive family.

“She’s not a risk to the community, she’s just not,” Valdez said.

She said the killing was an act of self-defense, and it would be fair for Bagley to be allowed to be at home while the case goes through the court system.

Before allowing her to be released, Kouris said there is a chance the case would have been dismissed by the end of the day, citing evidence he has seen in the case, and evidence he anticipated from the justification hearing.

Allen’s mother attended the hearing remotely and asked the judge not to release Bagley. She expressed concerns that Bagley lives near her family and they feel her release would be a danger to them.

One of Allen’s family members, Kamilah Mitchell, commented using the chat feature available when attending remotely, “(O)ur baby will never see another Christmas nor any other holiday ever. Why should she be able to be with her family?”

Deputy Salt Lake County district attorney Richard Pehrson said the case is serious, and has been bound over for trial. He said a request for a two-week continuance due to illness should not be a reason to reevaluate custody. But Kouris said there were no other dates available for a justification hearing until January.

Kouris ordered Bagley to check in with a probation service at least once a week and have no contact with Allen’s family. Both families live in Houston, Texas.

The justification hearing is now set in the case for Jan. 3.

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Judge allows woman charged with murdering professional bull rider to be released on bail