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Bountiful woman to stand trial in February slaying

Published September 11, 2012 2:31 pm

Shannon Sander is accused of fatally stabbing her on-and-off-again boyfriend.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Farmington • When Alan Barryman answered his door the night of Feb. 21, he was met by a hysterical Shannon Sander. The woman, who was his neighbor, told Barryman that she had just stabbed her on-and-off boyfriend, Michael Dunn.

Barryman testified in 2nd District Court on Tuesday that he immediately called 911.

"You're going to get me in trouble," Sander said to him, according to his testimony.

"I said, 'I can't help it,' " he testified. "Michael needs help."

Dunn, 52, died on a bed in the living room of his Bountiful apartment that night after being stabbed once in the chest. Sander, 43, was charged with first-degree felony murder several days later, and a judge ruled Tuesday that there was enough evidence for the woman to stand trial on the charge.

During Tuesday's preliminary hearing, several law enforcement officers, a medical examiner and Barryman were called to testify.

The stabbing culminated a daylong drinking binge, Bountiful police Detective Keith Beal testified. Beal said Sander told him in an interview after the stabbing that Dunn had begun drinking at 9:30 a.m.

By about 11 p.m., she had consumed three cans of beer and about five to six inches of a bottle of Canadian Whiskey, Beal said.

Sander told Beal that she stabbed Dunn after he tried to grope her and kiss her throughout the day. Though the two had dated in the past, Beal said, Sander told him that their friendship during the last six years had been nonsexual, and his advances were not welcomed.

"She said Mike kept doing it, and she stabbed him," Sander said. "She just lost it and stabbed him."

Edward Leis, deputy chief medical examiner, told the court Tuesday that Dunn was fairly intoxicated at the time of his death, with a blood-alcohol level of 0.23, which is nearly three times the legal limit for driving a car.

Over several interviews, Beal said Sander's story of where the stabbing happened changed. Initially, she said she stabbed him in the kitchen. Later, she told him she followed him from the kitchen to the living room, and stabbed him there. In another interview, she said she had been sitting on a couch in the living room when she stabbed Dunn, and she didn't know why she was holding a knife in the living room.

Sander's attorney, Mark Arrington, argued that Sander was defending herself when she stabbed Dunn. He told the judge in his closing argument that had Dunn survived, he likely would have been investigated for sexual assault charges.

Sander did have a bruise on her chest, law enforcement officials testified, which she said Dunn had caused earlier that day.

Sander is being held without bail in the Davis County jail. An arraignment has been set on Oct. 16.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller