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Man who backed out of suicide pact pleads guilty in wife's death

Published September 11, 2012 5:13 pm

Court • Attorney says Bluffdale man "did not honor" suicide pact.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

A Bluffdale man who balked on his half of a suicide pact with his wife pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge.

Shawn Robert Langford and his wife, Rashell Langford, had been using bath salts and drinking heavily before making a suicide pact on Sept. 5, 2011, defense attorney Clayton Simms said. Police found cases of warm Natural Light beers inside the home and Rashell Langford's blood alcohol content was 0.46, Simms said, which is nearly six times the legal limit for driving an automobile.

The bath salts "counteracted the depressive effects of alcohol," allowing Rashell Langford to remain conscious despite being extremely intoxicated.

Langford originally told police he had been having trouble with the bolt of his rifle sticking and was working the gun's action when his wife asked to see the weapon, then she put the barrel in her mouth and pulled the trigger.

In 3rd District Court on Tuesday, however, Simms said the woman's death was to be a suicide pact that her husband "did not honor."

"He was startled when she pulled the trigger," Simms said, adding that Langford passed a lie detector test.

Langford was charged with class A misdemeanor negligent homicide, but an alternative count of reckless endangerment was also included.

"He didn't pull the trigger," but could have prevented the death, the defense attorney said.

"That's the tragedy of it," Simms said. "He lost his wife in this because of bad decisions he made."

Langford faces up to a year in jail when he is sentenced Nov. 5.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @aaronfalk