Shawn Leonard, facing life imprisonment


Courtesy of Daily Herald

The man accused of the brutal sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman along the Provo River Trail in early June was arrested and taken into official custody on July 14.

Shawn Leonard, 33, has been charged with attempted aggravated murder, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping, which are all first-degree felonies.

Leonard’s next court appearance will be July 21. He additionally faces first-degree felony charges of aggravated robbery, for the robbery of a clothing store in Mona the day of his apprehension.

Leonard is also looking at an added charge for escaping custody from a work-release program. On July 28, a separate hearing will determine whether or not Leonard violated his probation.

Prosecutors say that they are seeking a life imprisonment sentence without parole.

“Anybody who commits that violent of a crime should be in prison for life,” said Prosecutor Donna Kelly.

The State of Utah is immediately proceeding with Leonard’s escape of official custody charge in order to keep him behind bars and out of the community.

The young woman’s medical bills exceed the combined resources of the Victim’s Reparation Fund and her family’s private health insurance policy. Dr. Ron Hammond, assistant department chair of UVU’s Behavioral Science Department, has been working with several colleagues to create the Utah Community Credit Union (UCCU) fund that anyone can contribute to under the name, “Provo Survivors Fund.”

“Any faculty, staff or student wanting to make a contribution can stop by during normal business hours and simply donate as little as their pocket change or as much as their hearts desire,” Hammond said.

During the week of Aug. 9, students will be placing a poster outside UCCU to encourage sympathy and support for the young woman. Their hope is that the student body and community will come together and help her along the difficult road to recovery.

“On Aug. 10, we will have a huge rummage sale in the LA building on the main floor that coincides with a rape and dating violence awareness booth,” said Hammond.

A family friend explained that the young woman is healing slowly, but will have a good recovery in the end.

For rape awareness information and resources, visit www.RAINN.org or www.UVU.edu/WRC/

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