A pair of 16-year-old Utah boys are facing charges of attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery after they lured a 14-year-old girl to a secluded area and shot her in the back of the head — all because she continually texted and sent them messages on Snapchat.
The girl, Deserae Turner of Smithfield, Utah, survived the attack, which took place Feb. 16, has since undergone surgery and is currently undergoing “intensive” therapy, according to her family.
But the bullet she was shot with remains lodged in her skull, and when she awoke from a medically-induced coma in early March, she only remembered partial details of the night she was attacked, according to KSL.
In court Tuesday, a police detective testified that although Turner remembered one of the boys, whom she considered a friend, inviting her to a muddy canal near the local high school, she still had to ask who had shot her, per the Salt Lake Tribune.
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According to prosecutors, her friend, who is not being identified by media outlets because he is a juvenile, did it as part of a premeditated plot to “get rid of” Turner, per the Deseret News. The teen later told investigators that he conceived the plan because “I just didn't want anything to do with Snapchatting her anymore,” per the Associated Press.
The (Logan) Herald Journal reported that the two first met at a party, and that in addition to sending him messages through the popular Snapchat app, she also texted him more than he liked.
While playing video games one night, Turner’s friend told another boy about his frustration.
“Well, you’ve got a 6-inch blade, why don’t you do it yourself,” his friend told him, according to testimony reported by the Associated Press.
But while the first teen initially thought of the comment as a “crude joke,” according to testimony from investigators, the two later began to form a plan in which they would lure Turner to a secluded area and slit her throat, per the Salt Lake Tribune. However, the alleged shooter told investigators that neither believed they could go through with it.
Instead, they brought a gun and waited until Turner was walking away to shoot her in the back of the head.
“He said that it was the most merciful way when he talked about her not having any idea she was about to be shot,” one of the detectives told the court, per the Herald Journal.
The two boys then stole Turner’s phone, iPod and $55 from her purse. The alleged shooter also took the shell casing from the single bullet he shot as a “memento,” according to police.
While just one of the teens actually pulled the trigger, both are facing felony charges. Prosecutors point to the fact that the two boys continued to plot and text all the way up to the moment they shot Turner and that the shooter said he could not have done it without his friend by his side as evidence that the other teen is also fully responsible.
Both teens have been ordered to stand trial by a judge, per the Associated Press. They will face May hearings to decide if they will be tried as juveniles or adults.