Farrell Bartschi was 82, but his daughter says he was still very healthy and his family has a history of living well into their 90s.

Kimberlie Dixon has no doubt her father would be alive today if he hadn't been gunned down while taking his morning walk by a person he had never met before who was on parole from the Utah State Prison after already serving time for attempted murder. That man, Noel Munoz Lopez, tested positive for using methamphetamine while on parole, she said.

"He should have gone back into prison for that. But they're not doing their job," she said Monday about Adult Probation and Parole and the Utah Department of Corrections. "I just wish that they were doing what they were supposed to, and we would still have him."

Dixon isn't the only one who feels they were failed by the state. On Monday, nearly a dozen people — representing victims in six separate violent crimes — filed a civil lawsuit in 3rd District Court claiming serious violent acts were committed against them or their loved ones because of the "gross negligence" and "willful misconduct" of the Utah Department of Corrections and Adult Probation and Parole.

Among that group are relatives of four victims who were killed by people either on parole or probation.

The 47-page lawsuit against the corrections department its Adult Probation and Parole agency and several of the department's individual leaders and officers, claims that violent offenders who shouldn't be released from prison are getting out, and then are not being properly supervised once they're released.

In 2015, the Justice Reinvestment Initiative was created in Utah and is designed to "reduce incarceration time for nonviolent individuals who pose little risk and who successfully complete approved programs." The lawsuit says the program, however, is not designed to release violent offenders.

But according to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and their attorney Robert Sykes, since 2018, the Utah State Prison has "released multiple individuals under the direction of the JRI program who should not have been released because of the 'risk or a threat to the community.' These individuals were violent offenders who did not qualify for this program, or committed offenses for which their parole should have been terminated."

Once these people were released on parole, Adult Probation and Parole lacked the ability to properly watch over them, the lawsuit contends.

"Since at least 2019, AP&P's difficulties in maintaining proper supervision and oversight of paroled offenders under their correctional jurisdiction has been known by state legislative leaders and other public officials. Since at least 2019, AP&P has known or should have known that it was unable to keep track of paroled offenders under their correctional jurisdiction" and "has actively sought to conceal and mislead the public regarding its inability to keep track of paroled offenders as well as its lack of proper supervision over such paroled offenders," the lawsuit states.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say they have evidence provided by whistleblowers that corrections officials engaged in "willful misconduct and deceit" and an "astonishing cover-up" to prevent information about the shortfalls of the Department of Corrections and Adult Probation and Parole from becoming public.

The Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to KSL.com's request for comment about the lawsuit.

Attorney Peter Sorensen says he spoke personally with a whistleblower who "told me very, very scary stories about the meetings he was in where he was directly and indirectly threatened, as well as everyone in that meeting, that if they told what AP&P had not been doing or had been lying about doing, there would be serious ramifications — and possibly they would never be heard from again. This is a very serious situation."

The group further claims in the lawsuit that "the gross negligence and willful misconduct of (the Utah Bureau of Prisons) and AP&P allowed plaintiffs' loved ones, including children and parents, to be murdered, sexually assaulted, or assaulted by unmonitored or improperly monitored violent offenders who never should have been released or who should have been reincarcerated earlier."

Attorney Alyson McAllister says the situation is more than something caused by a staffing crisis at the prison.

"It goes far beyond that in this case. There may be some of that. But we know, largely through these whistleblowers and through the investigation that has gone on, that even if there is some of that, there's way worse going on. There's lies, there's evidence being destroyed, there's evidence being fabricated, records being made up. This isn't a situation where, 'Hey, we don't have enough people. Our bad. We own up to that and admit it.'

"This was deceit and willful misconduct," she said.

Attorney Christina Isom says some of the cover-up, according to information Sykes' office has found, include parolees wearing ankle monitors — meant to keep track of them — but the monitors actually weren't working.

"Our knowledge that these people who committed these crimes were either on ankle monitors that didn't work or on ankle monitors that weren't monitored," she said, while adding that officials then went in "after the fact and changed their records to saying they have been monitoring them when in fact they have not been monitoring them."

McAllister said the lawsuit has been in the work for months, and additional plaintiffs and defendants may be added as more information is uncovered.

As of Monday, the plaintiffs include:

  • Amanda Wood, the daughter of Linda Nemelka. Nemelka was a Millcreek mother of five who was shot to death in her car on March 11, 2020, after having dinner with a friend. The case went unsolved for a year until James Dekota Brunson and Anika Celeste Thorpe were each charged with murder in 2021. The lawsuit contends Brunson and Thorpe violated their paroles prior to the shooting and should have already been back in prison, but Adult Probation and Parole did not look for them.
  • Marjorie Charles-Scott, the mother of Shandon Nicole Scott. Shandon Scott was the girlfriend of Terrence Trent Vos, a former Public Enemy No. 1 who was released from prison in 2020. Vos was required to wear an ankle monitor as part of his parole, but Adult Probation and Parole "did not use the monitor to check his location or try and make contact with Vos once he was released," the lawsuit states. He was then arrested for DUI in 2020 and allegedly assaulted Scott in October 2020. "During periods of his parole, specifically between February 2021 and April 2021, there were outstanding warrants for his arrest of which AP&P was fully aware. AP&P did not investigate or contact Vos concerning these outstanding warrants," according to the suit. On May 1, 2021, police say Vos shot Scott multiple times, killing her.
  • Chris and Cindy are the parents of a teenage girl who was kidnapped at knifepoint while walking home from Hunter High School on Jan. 27, 2020, duct taped and sexually assaulted by a man who was released from prison in 2015 after serving time for attempted murder. Creed Cole Lujan eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping and forcible sodomy. The lawsuit contends that Lujan was not being properly supervised by Adult Probation and Parole at the time of the kidnapping and had already committed "several parole violations" that should have resulted in him already being incarcerated.
  • Wilfredo Robles and Sandra Cecilia Moguel are the parents of Sandra Fiorella Robles. Robles was strangled to death by Daniel Padilla-Ang during an argument that started over a vape pen. Padilla-Ang pleaded guilty to murder in August and was sentenced to up to life in prison. The lawsuit contends that he was already a "violent offender" when he was released from the Utah State Prison last time and "should have been subject to strict parole and careful supervision by AP&P" but wasn't.
  • Kimberlie Dixon is the daughter of 82-year-old Farrell Bartschi. Bartschi was shot three times and killed in front of a residence near 3800 South and 4200 West on Oct. 4, 2021 in a random attack. Noel Munoz Lopez, of Kearns, was on the run for nine months before being arrested in Mexico. The lawsuit claims Lopez "had assaulted multiple individuals many times while on parole" but was not properly supervised by Adult Probation and Parole.
  • Bethany Schumaker, Clarence Newman, and Herman Schumaker lived in the same home in Centerville. On July 21, 2022, police say Ammon Jacob Woodhead entered their house through an open garage door while carrying a can of gasoline and told the residents that he had a knife and intended to set the house on fire with them inside. He is accused of then assaulting the elderly couple in the house before setting their home on fire. The lawsuit contends that the attack "occurred after several parole violations were reported to authorities" but Woodhead was not properly supervised by Adult Probation and Parole.

At a press conference on Monday to announce the lawsuit, all of the plaintiffs were in attendance. One by one, they told their stories of how they had been let down the by the Utah Department of Corrections system.

Clarence Newman was emotional as he recalled Woodhead entering his house with a gas can and attacking him and his wife.

"He came down the hallway, found me in the bedroom, still had the gas can, was pouring gas all over my bed, all over our bed and all over me," he recalled.

"I have been OK since the incident, trying hard to forget all about it. Spending every day of my life at the house trying to clean it out and rebuild it. Beth has been the one that has had the struggles with the damage he did to her mentally. She hasn't been able to work and still can't."

Bethany Schumaker suffered a serious internal head injury and still has not been able tor return to her job as a certified public accountant. Furthermore, she says their grandchildren are now scared to go to their house.

"They were so traumatized by what we looked like and the house burning that they're afraid. When we rebuild this house, are we going to have family time there? I don't know," she said.

"I just hope that the state will make it so this will never happen to anyone ever again. Somebody that was on parole, had been a violent offender, was able to come out and enjoy his freedom and try and do this to someone else. Because it's a day I'll never forget," Newman added.

It was an especially trying day for Charles-Scott as Monday was the second anniversary of her daughter's murder. She vividly remembers that morning when two officers came to her door.

"Hearing that knock on the door, the hard knock on the door, and then seeing two individuals outside my door. they immediately said, 'Are you Marjorie Scott?' And I said, 'Yes.' And they said, 'Are you related to Shandon Scott?' As soon as they said that, that's when I said, 'Oh, no, no no, what happened?' And that's when they told me. And the first words that came out of my mouth was, 'Terence did it. Terence did it.' And then the indiviudal told me, 'We have him in custody.'"

Charles-Scott, who was wearing a T-shirt with her daughter's picture on it, says there are memories of Shandon Scott all around her house.

"To this day I have not cleaned out her closet. I haven't gotten rid of her clothes. Her cat is there, sits right there by the closet, and will stay there," she said.

But some of those memories are still painful. The kitchen reminds her of the times of cooking and playing music with her daughter. It reminds her of the last meal her daughter cooked for her before she went to work — steak and potatoes, her favorite. But now, Charles-Scott says it has been two years since she cooked and she no longer will eat meat.

"I just can't do it, because it brings back that memory of that last meal she made for me," she said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages to be determined at trial.