Shawn Ryan Andrews, 29, was sentenced to four years to life in the Utah State Prison on Monday for the fatal stabbing of his mother in November 2019.
During the time set for sentencing in 1st District Court, Andrews emotionally addressed the court. He expressed love for his mom, remorse for the incident and his desire to make changes in his life.
“I hurt every day,” Andrews said. “I just want to get help and be a better person.”
Defense attorney Mike McGinnis argued for continued hospital treatment for Andrews. McGinnis told the court mental illness, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia, played an “enormous role” in the incident. Mental illness in conjunction with controlled substance use led to a state of mental instability, McGinnis said, that has since improved with treatment.
“He’s a completely different person,” McGinnis told the court. “He feels horrible about what happened.”
McGinnis said Andrews was low-risk to reoffend and treatment was the best option to thwart any deterioration in Andrews’ mental health.
While mental health was a factor, Cache County prosecutor Dane Murray argued, the incident could be largely attributed to controlled substance use. For Murray, Andrews’ situation showcased the effects of drug use on others and the community broadly.
“This is a tragedy in every sense of the word,” Murray told the court.
Murray asked the court to sentence Andrews to prison where further treatment could be administered if necessary. Murray said there was “no further benefit” for more treatment because Andrews had since been stabilized.
While acknowledging the case was a tragedy for everyone involved, Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said the case was more about loss — the loss of family, but also the community’s loss of innocence knowing an incident like this happened.
“This whole case is punctuated by loss,” Fonnesbeck said.
Fonnesbeck also spoke to Andrews’ choices. She said it was his decision to pick up a weapon and use it, in addition to his choice to not address his mental health. Fonnesbeck said the case showed that mental illnesses can not go on ignored.
Fonnesbeck sentenced Andrews to four years to life with credit of 596 days served. Restitution of over $4,000 for the victim’s funeral was also ordered; Murray told the court the cost was paid for by the state.
“I hope that you continue with your treatment,” Fonnesbeck said.
Andrews pleaded guilty but mentally ill to three charges in June: first-degree attempted murder, second-degree manslaughter and second-degree obstructing justice.
Documents filed with the court state police responded to a report of a stabbing in North Logan on Nov. 23, 2019. Witnesses told police a man had been seen running from the apartment and responders found the victim dead at the scene.
According to documents, surveillance footage depicted Andrews running from the apartment and later disposing of items near the North Logan Walmart. Police wrote a bloodied backpack, hoodie and knife were located near the store. When located by officers and later questioned, Police wrote, Andrews admitted to the stabbing and “gave several different explanations” for why the incident occurred.
Andrews was booked into the jail on Nov. 24, 2019. Charges were filed against him the following day.
In April 2020, according to court records, Andrews was found to be incompetent to stand trial. He was transported for treatment and later restored to competency.