Colter Peterson given max prison sentence for shooting Deserae Turner

Colter Peterson cries while listening to testimony during his sentencing for attempted aggravated murder and robbery, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Logan, Utah. Peterson received a sentence of 15 years to life for shooting Deserae Turner in February 2017, and leaving her for dead in a dry irrigation canal in Smithfield, Utah.

LOGAN — Colter Peterson was sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison Thursday morning. The 17-year-old Smithfield teenager cried and wiped his eyes with a tissue, as the girl he tried to kill, Deserae Turner, told him he was evil.

Turner spoke publicly for the first time during the sentencing hearing, in 1st District Court. She described the daily therapy she is undergoing, after being shot in the head a year ago and left to die in a canal bed, east of Sky View High School. While sitting in a wheel chair, she turned to speak directly to Peterson, telling him that she hopes he never forgets what he did to her.

“I hope that you are constantly reminded that you tried to kill me,” said Deserae. “You should know, I am tougher than a bullet. Welcome to hell, I’ve been here for a year now.”

Lead prosecutor Spencer Walsh said what Peterson and the co-defendant, Jayzon Decker, did was so heinous, evil and damaging to the victim, it demand the maximum penalty under the law. He explained how Peterson was the gunman, shooting Turner in the back of the head with a .22 caliber revolver, while Decker acted as lookout. He described how the two defendants concocted their plan, weeks in advance.

Deseae’s father, Matt Turner, said the hardest part for him is trying to comfort his daughter while she suffers from painful headaches, caused by the bullet that remains in her brain. He also turned to speak to Peterson directly, asking him how he could shoot her.

“I know that I hate what this boy did to Deserae,” Matt said. “I hate that he had no feeling about what did. After the deed, to go to the store for treats and act like nothing happened. Seriously come on, this whole thing should never have happened.”

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Tearfully, Matt said despite what has happened to his family because of Peterson’s actions, he does not hate the defendant.

Peterson spoke briefly, telling the court he wished he could go back and change what happened on the night of February 16, 2017. He apologized to the Turner family, his own family and the community.

“I’m very, very sorry for what I have done,” said Peterson. “Words can not describe how awful I feel.”

He told the court no matter what happens to him, it is nothing compared to what he has caused Deserae to go through. He said he has tried to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors, pleading guilty last year.

Judge Kevin Allen told Peterson what he did was evil, horrific, and altered the lives of many people. He said the only way the defendant could obtain redemption is by changing his life.

“Occasionally in our community a case comes along that shakes us to our very core,” expressed Allen. “It is so heinous and so tragic, that is has us questioning everything about us. Why and how could two boys raised in this community do something like this? I don’t know that we’ll ever really get the answer to that question but I think that it’s important that we as a community understand that this is not who we are.”

Judge Allen said he hoped the community would not ostracize or demean Peterson’s family because of what the defendant did. He noted that the 17-year-old was raised in a good home. While chocking up he told Deserae that her courage, wit and sense of humor had touched his soul.

Peterson was given the maximum sentence of 15-years-to-life for the attempted aggravated murder charge, and one-to-15-years for the robbery charge. The sentences will run concurrent, meaning he will not be eligible for parole for at least 15-years.

Judge Allen ordered him to begin serving his sentence in the juvenile detention center until he turns 18-years-old and is transferred to the Utah State Prison.

Decker is scheduled to be sentenced February 7.  The 17-year-old Hyde Park teenager has also pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony. 

<hr /><p style=”text-align: center;”>will@cvradio.com

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1 Comment

  • Abby November 2, 2018 at 11:22 am Reply

    this is so messed up like who tf would do such a thing to a girl like her.

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