No one and no punishment will ever bring back what was lost, both from Annie as well as our family. However, this is not a ‘loss’ that we feel should be swept aside. It seems to us that the only way to help restore that balance is for Chris to face a reasonable impact on his life as well. – Veronica Kasprzak-Bratcher
SALT LAKE CITY — Veronica Kasprzak-Bratcher said Wednesday she does not hold ill will toward the boy accused of murdering her daughter.
Nor does she want revenge against him, or "eternal punishment" as she put it.
But she does want Darwin Chris Bagshaw, 17, to take responsibility for what happened and realize there are consequences for his actions.
"We don't want Chris, or anyone else for that matter, feeling like ending the life of one person will not result in impacting the rest of his life just as he impacted hers. The difference really is more fair to Chris than it ever will be to Annie. He gets a chance to have a life, relationships, family, etc. Annie doesn't," Kazprzak told the Deseret News.
On Tuesday, 3rd District Juvenile Court Judge Dane Nolan certified Bagshaw to stand trial in adult court on a charge of murder, a first-degree felony, for the death of 15-year-old Anne Kasprzak in 2012.
Bagshaw was 14 at the time of the incident. Nolan took more than six weeks to reach his decision.
The judge admitted that he had to make his decision under the assumption that Bagshaw would be found guilty at trial and what the possible sentences would be. If convicted in juvenile court, he would have been released when he turned 21. If Bagshaw is convicted in adult court, he likely would serve a minimum of 20 years.
Bagshaw is accused of violently beating Kasprzak, his girlfriend, to death along an isolated area of the Jordan Parkway at night and dumping her body in the river. The girl's body wasn't found until the next day. Although Bagshaw was questioned immediately by police, he wasn't arrested until 2014 due in part to Draper police originally arresting a man who had nothing to do with the case.
As Nolan noted in his ruling, "Chris has denied responsibility for the crime of murder."
Anne's mother and stepfather, James Bratcher, released a statement Wednesday saying that they felt their daughter's life had value based on the judge's ruling.
"For us, while knowing that Chris was only 14 years old when Annie was murdered, the notion that he could receive a maximum of three years of services and consequences was unnerving. To do so implies that the 70+ years he took away from Annie that night is worth only a nominal three years," they said.
Veronica Kasprzak said what the family wants now is balance and accountability.
"No one and no punishment will ever bring back what was lost, both from Annie as well as our family. However, this is not a 'loss' that we feel should be swept aside," she said. "It seems to us that the only way to help restore that balance is for Chris to face a reasonable impact on his life as well. Taking life away from Chris does not bring back our Annie. However, for Chris to live his life relatively unaffected gives the message that Annie's life was not worth more."
When asked by the Deseret News what an appropriate sentence would be, Kasprzak said it was a hard question to answer.
"For me, a lot of it would depend on what Chris does. If he were to admit what happened and share what went on that evening, any remorse, etc, I think we would be more able to accept a shorter sentence, say 10 years or so. If not, I would feel a longer sentence more necessary both because there is no change without acknowledgement of the problem as well as safety for the community," she said.
Kasprzak disagreed with the assessment of court-appointed psychologists who concluded Bagshaw is a low risk to reoffend.
Bagshaw's next court hearing is scheduled for April 30.
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