An online petition has been launched calling on Utah prosecutors to break their agreement with a murder suspect accused of murdering his five-year-old niece and demanding the death penalty against him.
The body of Elizabeth & # 39; Lizzy & # 39; Shelley was found less than a stone's throw from her Salt Lake City home on Wednesday after her 21-year-old uncle, Alex Whipple, led the police to the dirt-covered body after a five-day investigation.
Whipple, who has been charged with murder, has provided a map showing the location of Shelley & # 39; s body in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table, said Gary Jensen, chief of Logan Police.
But the deal between prosecutors and Whipple, which was achieved with the blessing of Shelley & # 39; s family, has enraged many in the community.
Call for action: A petition has been launched calling on Utah Attorneys to pursue the death penalty against Alex Whipple for the murder of his five-year-old niece, Lizzy Shelley
The body of Elizabeth & # 39; Lizzy & # 39; Shelley was found on Wednesday less than a stone's throw from her Salt Lake City home after her 21-year-old uncle Alex Whipple led the police to the dirt-covered body
The little girl's body was found hidden under trees and grew just meters from her house five days after she went missing
A petition has appeared on the Avaaz.org site asking the Utah court to put the death penalty back on the table, such as KUTV reported Friday for the first time.
& # 39; I am convinced that Alexander should receive the death penalty & # 39 ;, wrote the author of the petition. & # 39; Eye for an eye or in this case a life for a life. & # 39;
From Friday afternoon, more than 9,100 people signed and counted the petition.
Cache County Attorney James Swink told KSL TV in an interview on Thursday, that before he agreed to take the death penalty off the table, he contacted Lizzy & # 39; s mother, who told him it was the family's top priority to take her daughter home .
& # 39; Without the weather conditions, where they have been unusually cool, and the location of her body, her body would not have been found in such a good condition, & # 39; Swink explained.
He emphasized that the decision to remove the threat of the death penalty was not taken lightly.
& # 39; With that being said, we will seek the most severe penalties that may be available to us, which will now be life without the possibility of conditional release, & # 39; he said.
Police have revealed that Whipple had dried blood-stains on his pants when he was arrested last Saturday for Lizzy's disappearance.
When Whipple was left alone in an interview room without handcuffs, he allegedly tried his & # 39; nasty & # 39; and cut fingers clean.
Whipple had previously acknowledged no involvement in the disappearance of his cousin, but during the interrogation, police told that alcohol obscures him & # 39; and sometimes does & # 39; criminal things & # 39 ;.
He often alluded to & # 39; how bad the world we live in, & # 39; as he spoke of his struggles as a child, according to court documents.
After the grim discovery of the body, Whipple & # 39; s grandfather, Bill Whipple, revealed that the murder suspect had a difficult childhood but had never shown violent tendencies.
& # 39; I would never, ever in a million years have I thought he was capable of harming such a & # 39; n cute little girl, & # 39; said the older Whipple.
& # 39; I knew he was a thief, but I never considered him a murderer. & # 39;
Whipple's mother ran away when he was young and left his father behind to raise only three children while working as a truck driver. As a teenager, Whipple spent time in foster homes and did not graduate from high school.
Whipple & # 39; s lawyer, Shannon Demler, described his client as & # 39; very emotional & # 39; and & # 39; not in a very good mental state & # 39 ;.
& # 39; He is very broken, & # 39; said Demler Fox 13 now. & # 39; He is very repentant. & # 39;
Lizzy & # 39; s body was found hidden under trees and polished a heavily forested area less than a block from her house five days after she went missing
The police have revealed that Whipple had dried blood-colored stains on his pants when he was arrested last Saturday for Lizzy's disappearance
The family released this statement through Lizzy's aunt on Wednesday and thanked all seekers and supporters
Timeline of Elizabeth Shelley disappearance
Evening of 24 May: Alexander Whipple comes to visit his sister Jessica & # 39; s house in Logan.
25 May, 2 hours: Elizabeth gets well when the family falls asleep.
May 25, 6:46 am: Guard images show a man who appears to be Whipple Walking just two blocks from the house. The man's pants look wet or muddy from the knees down.
9:00 am: Family members wake up to find both Elizabeth and Whipple away.
1:30 am: Whipple is seen on foot at the Shortstop supermarket in Hyrum, about eight miles south of the house.
He is alone and a clerk says he looks crazy as if he is fooling around. He buys beer and cigarettes.
03:00: Cache County Sheriff & # 39; s delegates locate and arrest Whipple in Southern Cache Valley, 10 miles from the house.
May 29, 11:50 AM: Whipple is charged with aggravated murder, child abduction and other matters
5 AM: Police say they've found a body that is probably Lizzy in a heavy wooded area less than a block from her house
Demler said that Whipple was not a motive for what he described as the & # 39; unforgivable & # 39; The man's act against his niece and speculated that mental illness could be the culprit.
& # 39; I don't know if there is any other reason than a possible mental illness, & # 39; said the lawyer.
& # 39; You know, it's not that a five-year-old girl would do anything that would justify someone doing this to her, but I think the answer lies in my client's mental illness. & # 39;
Demler said he expects Whipple to undergo multiple psychiatric evaluations as his case swings through the justice system.
A family spokesperson read a statement from Jessica, Lizzy's mother, and thanked the local community for their help in finding her & # 39; caring and caring daughter & # 39 ;.
& # 39; There are no words to express the sadness and broken hearts we feel today. This didn't end the way we wanted it, but in the sadness we are comforted by the efforts people make to find Lizzy.
& # 39; We never expected this outpouring of love and support. It was beautiful. & # 39;
Whipple's lawyer said the breakthrough came in the search for Lizzy after he presented the facts and evidence to his client.
& # 39; My client has made the decision to disclose the location of the body to the authorities so that the family can hopefully have some closure for that part of the case, & # 39; said Demler.
The police had previously revealed that the little girl's blood was found on a watch and a hooded sweatshirt from Whipple.
The blue-green skirt that Lizzy had last seen was also retrieved after he & # 39; hurriedly buried & # 39; was under bark and soil near the parental home.
A woman plays a candle on a memorial after a five-year-old vigil on Monday
The police received surveillance data from the family home that is believed to have caught Whipple. The video taken about two blocks from the house showed a man in a gray hoodie walking alone
Prosecutors said they had also found a broken LivingKit kitchen knife with the girl's blood, matching a sheet that had disappeared into the parental home.
Researchers also found a piece of PVC tube 50 meters away in the Bear River Charter School parking lot with a partial palmprint in a red substance that was considered blood. The find corresponded to Whipple's hand, according to the indictment.
Whipple was charged with aggravated murder, which is a capital violation.
He was also accused of child abduction, a first-degree crime, desecration of a human body, a third-degree crime, and two counts of obstruction of justice.
A Zions bank account has been opened under the name of Elizabeth Shelley Donation to collect money while the family goes looking for Lizzy, said the Cache County Attorney's office Wednesday.
Researchers have been looking for the girl since Saturday morning. Lizzy was reported missing after her family woke up after 9 am and the young and Whipple were nowhere to be seen.
The girl was last seen before relatives went to bed at about 2 o'clock in the morning and Whipple stayed in the house that night despite not living there.
Seekers (shown on Tuesday) search the area for the missing child and Shelley's skirt was buried & # 39; hurriedly & # 39; found among the dirt on the grounds of a charter school at her house
Seekers (shown Tuesday) also found that the child's blood was missing on a broken knife in the Utah family kitchen. Whipple & # 39; s handprint was also discovered on a PVC pole
Dark details have emerged from Whipple, a convicted criminal who looked frantic as if he were under the spell of the disappearance of Elizabeth & # 39 ;.
Around 1.30 pm on Saturday, Whipple stopped at a gas station in Hyrum, where he bought beer and cigarettes.
& # 39; Sloppy, as if he had been spellbound in one way or another & # 39 ;, Hyrum Shortstop employee Ryan Liljenquist told KSTU-TV.
& # 39; He was wearing a gray hoodie. Under that hoodie was a kind of suit and tie, something very strange. & # 39;
The police received surveillance data from the family home that is believed to have caught Whipple.
The video, taken at about two blocks from the house at 6:46 on Saturday, showed a man in a gray hoodie walking alone. His pants seemed wet or muddy from the knees.
According to a probable cause statement, Whipple had put a metal baseball bat in his back pocket and hid it under his jacket when he was arrested.
Alexander Whipple pictured above in images on Facebook. He was arrested Saturday, found in a remote area about 10 miles from the family home where Elizabeth disappeared
Whipple is shown on a security camera on Friday, May 24 before Shelley went missing
Elizabeth & # 39; s mother, Jessica Whipple (left) and father Wes Shelley (right), who are divorced, both appealed to the girl's safe return before her body was discovered
He was found Saturday afternoon in a remote area, about 10 miles from the family's house, a few hours after the girl was reported missing.
Reportedly, Whipple had some of the girl's clothes in his hands.
He was combative and refused to identify himself several times when the police saw him walking in a remote area, according to legal documents.
He was booked in the Cache County Jail on Sunday for investigation of probation violations, non-identification of the police, and possession of a controlled substance.
He was not released on bail on Tuesday during a court session in Logan in which he appeared via video in a dark blue prison uniform with his back slumped and his eyes turned downwards. The next Whipple hearing is 3 June.
In 2016, Whipple was convicted of assaulting his roommate in an incident of domestic violence, according to legal documents.
In the same year, Whipple was arrested after police said he had stolen his neighbor's car and was driving under the influence of alcohol. In that incident, he led Utah High Patrol on a 18-mile chase that ended with authorities who tightened the tires of the car, according to court documents.
Whipple was sentenced to prison in March 2018, but his term of office was suspended and he was ordered instead to serve 180 days in jail and five years of probation.
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