Murder Charge Dismissed For Woman Who Shot And Killed Ex-Boyfriend During Break-In

by Tommy Grant

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — Judge Mark Kouris dismissed murder and other felony charges against Lashawn Denise Bagley, 23. Bagley was accused of fatally shooting Demetrius Allen, a professional bull rider known as “Ouncie Mitchell,” during a home invasion. The incident occurred shortly after Bagley returned from a night out, with Allen attempting to enter her home to retrieve personal items. Despite evidence of prior communication and Allen’s belongings at Bagley’s residence, Judge Kouris ruled in favor of self-defense, emphasizing the fundamental right to protect oneself from intrusion, particularly at her ground-floor apartment in a high-crime area.

The defense highlighted Bagley’s ownership of the gun and her right to self-defense during the late-night break-in. Meanwhile, the prosecution argued against the reasonableness of her fear, citing text exchanges and Allen’s intentions to retrieve belongings. However, Kouris countered that Bagley’s lack of awareness of Allen’s identity and the mere fact of an ongoing break-in justified her defensive actions.

The case also delved into the nuances of a state law allowing for a justification hearing, shifting the evaluation of self-defense claims from jury to judge. The law mandates that once credible self-defense is presented, the burden is on prosecutors to disprove it with clear and convincing evidence. In Bagley’s case, the judge found the prosecution’s evidence insufficient, leading to her release after nearly 11 months in custody.

The decision underscores the complex balance between property rights, personal safety, and legal interpretations of self-defense.

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