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Killing of Sandy man ‘especially senseless,’ sheriff says

SHARE Killing of Sandy man ‘especially senseless,’ sheriff says

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

TOOELE — Tooele County Sheriff Paul Wimmer knows that all killings are senseless.

But the recent death of a Sandy man who detectives say was shot and dragged into nearby sagebrush where the body remained during the holiday weekend, has investigators really shaking their heads.

“We’re just not seeing why there was such a distaste for our victim and why they killed him,” Wimmer said.

On Wednesday, three men — Wyatt William Smelser, 20, of Cottonwood Heights; Hakop Jack Keshishian, 20, of Sandy; and Izaiah Kirkpatrick, 20, of Draper — were charged with murder, a first-degree felony, for the death of Chance Eggett, 21, of Sandy.

Eggett and Keshishian were neighbors, or had recently been neighbors, at the time Eggett was killed, according to court records.

The investigation began as a missing person’s case on May 21, according to Sandy police. Tooele County investigators believe the three defendants lured Eggett to a remote area near Faust Road under the guise of going target shooting.

Once there, Eggett was killed and his body was dragged into sagebrush off the side of the road, Wimmer said.

The area where Eggett was shot is popular with recreationists, particularly motorcycle and UTV riders, the sheriff said. It’s also an area of the county that allows shooting. Despite the area being full of people recreating over the Memorial Day weekend, no one spotted Eggett’s body.

Although the body was not buried, Wimmer said the only way it would have been seen is if someone walked by it.

After being questioned on Monday, one of the three arrested men led detectives to Eggett’s body.

Keshishian said he wanted to kill Eggett “because he was running his mouth about Keshishian and Keshishian planned the murder with Kirkpatrick and Smelser,” according to charging documents.

But what exactly Eggett supposedly said was still under investigation Thursday. The sheriff said detectives do not believe the shooting was gang-related or a crime of passion, such as jealousy over a girl. Whether drugs were involved is still under investigation.

In fact, as of Thursday, Wimmer said his detectives hadn't come up with a clear motive as to why Keshishian would want Eggett dead. Eggett’s death appears to be “especially senseless,” he said, because of the lack of a motive.

As of Thursday, investigators were still looking into how well the four men knew each other. Detectives were also waiting for results to be returned from the Utah State Crime Lab, as well as submitting additional evidence to be tested, the sheriff said.

All three defendants have minor or no prior criminal history in Utah since turning 18, according to court records.

The men are scheduled to make their initial appearances in court on June 1.