Jury returns verdict in trial of man accused of aggravated attempted murder in hammer attack

ST. GEORGE — The verdict is in for the trial of a man charged with the aggravated attempted murder of another man who was severely beaten and robbed in April 2018.

Trial of Kade Shearer, accused of aggravated attempted murder, takes place in 5th District Court, Dec. 11, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Kade Robert Shearer, 21, has been found guilty of first-degree felony aggravated attempted murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping, along with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, and misdemeanor tampering with evidence, threat of violence.

Following opening arguments on Monday, Shearer’s trial continued Tuesday as his co-defendant and girlfriend, Sasha Davis, shed a different light on the events that took place that day in April.

The state’s case is that Shearer masterminded a plan to have Davis lure a man to Turkey Farm Road in Washington County on April 14, where she and Shearer mauled him, tied him up, shocked him with a stun gun, dragged him by a rope tied around his neck and stole his wallet and phone in retribution for an alleged sexual assault of Davis by the man.

The state says Davis assisted in the crime, but much of that participation was under the direction or suggestion of Shearer, which was supported by her testimony Monday.

Defense attorney Edward Flint said Shearer’s actions were fueled by anger over the sexual assault of his girlfriend and that the altercation was a physical fight that “went too far.”

However, according to the state, the sexual assault of Davis had little, if anything, to do with the crime and that it simply served as an excuse for Shearer to allegedly rob and murder the man.

‘I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in prison’

During the cross-examination of Davis on Tuesday, Flint went over the events that led up to the alleged sexual assault, starting with a party on April 7 when she met the victim, Jeffrey Dustin Lambert.

Davis testified that after that meeting with Lambert, she received many texts from him that became increasingly aggressive.

“There were so many texts it was harassment,” she said.

Sasha Davis testifies against co-defendant Kade Shearer during aggravated attempted murder trial, St. George, Utah, Dec. 10, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Davis said she told Lambert she wanted to meet with him to let him know that she was in a relationship with Shearer, but during the meeting he took her to a deserted cul de sac where she testified that Lambert sexually assaulted her. She said she told Shearer about the alleged assault the following day.

Davis also testified that Shearer told her to report the assault to police but that she never did so.

During the cross-examination, Flint questioned Davis’ motivation for testifying against her boyfriend. He asked her to recount the charges to which she pleaded guilty, and she again recounted that she pleaded guilty to all charges, except for attempted murder and a misdemeanor drug charge.

During a hearing held Dec. 14, 2018, prosecutors dropped the attempted murder and drug charges as part of a plea deal with Davis. The felony charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and a misdemeanor for tampering with evidence remained.

What came out during cross-examination, however, is that Davis pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated kidnapping, attempted aggravated robbery and aggravated assault, as well as the misdemeanor charges. Two months after Davis’s guilty plea, the attempted aggravated kidnapping charge was amended to kidnapping.

These reductions made a significant difference in sentencing and registration requirements. Davis will have to register on the kidnapping/sex offender registry for four years for kidnapping as opposed to a lifetime registry requirement that goes along with attempted aggravated kidnapping. It also takes the possibility of “life without parole” off the table.

For Davis, it took prison off the table entirely.

Three prison terms, two 1-15 year sentences and one prison sentence of up to five years were all suspended. Instead, Davis was sentenced to three years in jail, with a review hearing in two years, which could take place as early as April, at which point she will have the option of going into a treatment program directly from jail. Her plea agreement, however, does not say how long she is required to remain in that program.

“So you may not have to serve that third year at all then,” Flint said.

Davis testified that she took the deal because she was “scared”and “didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in prison,” Davis said.

During redirect, prosecutor Hood asked Davis if she acted on her own when she sent the provocative text to Lambert or when she assisted by taking the man’s wallet, shocking him with the stun gun or tying him up or if she was acting under the direction of Shearer, to which she replied, “Kade told me to do it.”

‘I was out there fighting for my life.’

Lambert took the stand Wednesday, outlining the attack and saying it was “planned” – that Shearer wanted him dead. He said the rope around his neck was used as a “kill shot.”

“I was out there fighting for my life,” Lambert said.

He denied ever sexually assaulting Davis, saying he went out to Turkey Farm Road on April 14 to “talk” to her and was then attacked.

During cross-examination, Flint brought up the fact that Lambert was wearing inmate clothing during his appearance at court and asked him why he was in jail. Lambert said it was for crimes committed after the attack, caused by the injuries and trauma he suffered that night.

Lead prosecutor Jim Weeks told the jury during closing arguments the attack on Lambert was “anything but a fair fight — it was an ambush,” adding that Shearer pulled on the rope “with all of his might” in an attempt to kill the victim that was out there “begging for his life.”

Weeks said that Lambert was restrained by the defendant, in addition to being choked and dragged across the ground, allegations he said were evidenced by the linear injuries to the victim’s neck, ankles and arms that were visible in the photos submitted during trial.

Weeks also said Shearer’s crimes weren’t limited to the acts he committed himself but also for the actions of the co-defendants that were performed under his order and planning.

The defense closed Wednesday by saying that case was wrought with conflicting testimony, evidence that went untested and a witness who had something to gain by testifying against Shearer.

Flint said Lambert wants Shearer to “go away for a long time,” and the credibility of Davis’ testimony was called into question by the fact that the state made the “no prison” deal with her to testify and then sweetened the deal even after she pleaded guilty.

He also said the state “dropped the ball” by not having any of the blood evidence tested and never found the rope allegedly used to choke and drag Lambert, and he reminded the jury that there was a third defendant, Vincent Montel Rodabough, who also took part in the scheme but was “not even called to testify at this trial.”

Weeks countered by saying Flint could have called Rodabough if he wanted him to testify.

“Flint could have had anyone he wanted to testify during trial,” he said.

Weeks also said the blood wasn’t tested “because there weren’t any issues with it,” adding that no one else involved in the incident sustained injuries that left blood evidence, so that was never called into question. Weeks went on to say that the victim in this case may be in custody but that everyone deserves protection under the law, “no matter who they are.”

The prosecutor added that there was more than enough evidence in the case to find the defendant guilty.

Following the verdict, a presentence report was ordered and a sentencing hearing will be scheduled. Until then, Shearer will remain in custody in Washington County.

If each sentence on all charges are run consecutively, the defendant could spend the rest of his life in prison.

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