COURTS & LEGAL

Salt Lake City Police Dept. sued over ‘negligence’ in fatal domestic violence case

Apr 4, 2024, 7:19 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2024, 6:02 am

Mandy Mayne cemetery. (KSL TV)...

Mandy Mayne cemetery. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah mother is accusing the Salt Lake City Police Department of causing her daughter’s death, because of its negligence. She filed a lawsuit on March 22 in 3rd District Court and is seeking a jury trial and restitution for damages.

The mother, Shauna Mayne, lost her daughter, Amanda “Mandy” Mayne, 34, in 2022. The lawsuit describes a string of events that it states led to Mandy Mayne’s death at the hands of her ex-husband.

The lawsuit alleges that SLCPD knew, “or should have known,” about the string of events, and “did not properly investigate the situation and assess its lethality or take appropriate steps to protect Amanda. If it had, she would still be alive today.”

In other words, the lawsuit pins wrongful death on police.

Utah law defines wrongful death as “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, his heirs, or his personal representatives …” Although, it was determined by the Utah Supreme Court in 1996 that a government entity is immune from wrongful death cases.

The lawsuit that Shauna Mayne filed argues that the Utah Constitution included the “right to assert against the state a claim for wrongful death” when it was drafted.

“Indeed, the Utah Constitution enshrined the common understanding that no one — including a governmental entity — enjoys immunity for negligently causing the death of another, under Utah law,” the suit states.

What happened to Mandy Mayne

Mandy Mayne married Taylor Ray Martin, her eventual killer, in 2016. Martin had bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, according to the lawsuit. The couple later divorced.

“These conditions caused him to suffer paranoid delusions in which he believed specific individuals were responsible for his life setbacks,” the suit states. “He would stalk those individuals and obsess about committing acts of violence against them.”

According to the lawsuit, Martin’s run-ins with Salt Lake police began in 2015, when he was arrested for assault.

In Dec. 2016, he began threatening Mandy Mayne’s family and was arrested again, and faced several charges, including a domestic violence charge.

From that time, the lawsuit describes a period of two years where Martin was charged with more criminal charges, put on probation and served multiple sentences for jail time. The bulk of his charges mentioned in the lawsuit were for threatening violence, to a judge, parole board, and family members. The most substantial sentence he received though was a year of jail time for the 2016 domestic violence charges.

When he was released in March 2019, Mandy Mayne feared for her safety and left the apartment they shared. She fled to her father’s home, and Martin filed a missing person report.

Police located her with her father, and the lawsuit states that police spoke with Mandy Mayne’s mother that day. They told her about what they thought was an “unrelated matter,” and said one of Martin’s coworkers said he’d been making plans to “kill Shauna and her son.” The officer said the co-worker was just trying to get Martin in trouble, but Shauna Maynes “urged the officer to take the threat seriously.”

Mandy Mayne obtained an official divorce decree in April 2021. After the divorce, the lawsuit details threatening text messages sent by Martin to Shauna Mayne.

“I’m hunting you guys down, (you’re) out of your minds,” one text read.

Another stated how Martin enjoyed “destroying your life and relationships, potential family members. I will continue to. This will never stop, never ever. Your daughter will be killed …”

Shauna Mayne filed a police report about the text messages on Jan. 28, 2022, according to the lawsuit.

Martin showed up at Mandy Mayne’s workplace two days before her death, and he became aggressive with another man she was with. Police interviewed Martin, and let him go. When Mandy Mayne asked about starting a protective order against him, the officer told her to visit the Matheson Courthouse to request one.

Two days later, on Aug. 17, 2022, Martin was dropped off by an Uber on the corner of 4700 South and 3600 West, where he waited for Mandy Mayne. She arrived approximately an hour later to catch a bus for work, and Martin “ambushed” her and shot her 14 times, including once in the head.

Mandy’s story continued

Mandy Mayne was the cousin of Lt. Gov. Deirdre Henderson, who strongly advocated for improvement in how law enforcement handled domestic violence cases at the time of her death.

A KSL Investigates report found that the use of a Lethality Assessment Program had been widely accepted by law enforcement agencies, but was not used by Salt Lake City Police. The program requires officers to ask a series of questions in potential domestic violence cases, and if the answers were”yes” to any of the first three, it triggers a referral for help.

“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,” Henderson said, of the findings.

The Salt Lake City Police Department said Thursday it could not comment on the lawsuit.


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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Salt Lake City Police Dept. sued over ‘negligence’ in fatal domestic violence case