< Previous Page
Officers later broke the passenger-side window and pulled Willard’s body out through it, Hauer said. He added that full reports on the incident are not currently being released.
"The evidence to support what happened is contained in the full report," Hauer said.
Until now, West Valley City police had released little information about the shooting, but said Thursday their investigation would be finished by the end of the month. Then, Gill’s office will review it to determine whether the use of deadly force was legal.
Kennedy, Willard’s mother, said the police account of the shooting doesn’t add up. She doesn’t believe Willard backed into Cowley and said there are several pieces of evidence that seem to suggest something else happened.
Kennedy said she has compiled extensive evidence on the crime scene, which has left her with more questions than answers.
She has said that her daughter struggled with heroin addiction, but seemed to be doing better after moving to Murray from Vancouver, Wash., to live in a rehabilitation facility.
Attorneys representing Willard’s parents have released a March 11 letter they sent to West Valley City police demanding records pertaining to the investigation into Willard’s death.
It was the second request by Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Geragos. The first was made Jan. 22, to which no response was given, according to the letter.
"Our client … demands a copy of the complete officer involved shooting investigation reports, including ballistic and trajectory reports," the letter states.
The letter asks police to release all personal property belonging to Danielle Willard, including her two cellphones and her vehicle. Geragos also implies there is a "department wide cover-up" of Willard’s case.
"We have already determined that relevant evidence is contained in the cell phones," the letter states. "Any effort to destroy that evidence will only further implicate your department in what appears to be a department wide cover-up."
Geragos’ letter also references a "mysterious" fire that destroyed surveillance video, "which would have otherwise captured the incident leading to Ms. Willard’s death."
Hauer said Thursday that there was no fire and all evidence collected in the case is "intact and in our possession and will remain in our possession until the investigation is completed."
Evidentiary problems with the 19 cases identified by Gill surfaced during a routine audit "a couple of months" ago, according to Hauer, prompting the department to launch an internal investigation.
"Obviously, all of these issues that have presented themselves are concerning to the police department," Hauer said. "We will take action when we discover things that are inappropriate. Our officers are dedicated to … serving with integrity."
Then, no more than two weeks ago, WVCPD brought its concerns about the officer to the Salt Lake City Police Department, and in the course of the outside investigation, Gill’s office found that the scope of the problem went beyond the cases that initially concerned the West Valley City department, Gill said in an interview.
Gill’s office dismissed two of the cases last week and filed motions to dismiss the remaining 17 on Wednesday.
"They were in different stages in the criminal justice system," Gill said. "We wanted to make sure they did not go forward, which is why we acted with the kind of urgency that we did."
The district attorney’s news release said the office is "continuing to work with the West Valley City Police Department and the West Valley City Attorney’s Office to address any other collateral issues that may trigger ongoing legal and ethical responsibilities to monitor these prosecutions consistent with our constitutional obligations."
Cowley, 32, and Salmon remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of Willard investigation, Hauer said.
Before he was a police officer with West Valley City, Cowley, then 19 years old, pleaded guilty in May 2000 to a class B misdemeanor count of falsifying a government record. According to a West Jordan police report, Cowley admitted to creating two fake driver licenses using a photo program so he could buy alcohol. Police were alerted when Cowley tried to buy $10 worth of wine coolers at a West Jordan store.Next Page >
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.