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Court denies Holladay man's murder conviction appeal
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Court of Appeals on Thursday denied an appeal from a Holladay man who was convicted of hitting and killing his wife with a truck in 2007.

Sherman Alexander Lynch III appealed the convictions of first-degree felony murder and second-degree felony obstruction of justice in connection with the death of his wife in October 2007.

Lynch, 62, was convicted of hiding the white Chevrolet truck used in the killing in an abandoned garage and trying to cover it up by using the media as an outlet to ask the public to help find the vehicle that hit her.

Lynch now argues the trial court erred by not giving proper jury instruction about his alibi defense. He also claims the prosecutor "engaged in misconduct by making statements during closing argument," implying Lynch had confessed to the crime.

The Court of Appeals ruled the trial court did not make a mistake in jury instructions because it was not considered an affirmative defense. The court also said the prosecutor did not engage in misconduct.

During the trial's closing arguments, the prosecutor told the jury Lynch told his best friend at the hospital after his wife's death, "'What have I — what am I going to do without her?'"

The prosecutor concluded Lynch was going to say "What have I done?" then told them: "He killed his wife."

Lynch's wife, Patricia Rothermich, was hit by a vehicle while on a walk near her home in Holladay on Oct. 3, 2007. Moments later, a passerby saw legs sticking out from some bushes where the woman had been walking and called 911. EMT's noted when they arrived the woman was "barely sustaining life." Rothermich was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Police questioned Lynch about owning the vehicle, which was stored in a garage he had rented out. Lynch denied owning the truck, but later admitted to buying it for his teenage son.

At trial, Lynch told the jury he had been at Costco in Murray buying milk and gasoline at the same time his wife was hit. Lynch showed receipts and surveillance video from Costco indicating he had been there within the time frame the crash may have happened.

Court • Defense criticizes jury instructions, says prosecutor implied that defendant confessed.
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