Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Defense Attorney Gary Pendleton, murder suspect Brandon Smith and Private Investigator Todd Gubler during a hearing in Smith's aggravated murder case in 5th District Court in St. George, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.
Prosecutors will seek death penalty against St. George murder suspect
Courts » Brandon Smith is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated assault.
First Published Jan 21 2014 10:02 am • Last Updated Jan 22 2014 09:33 pm

Prosecutors have declared they intend to seek the death penalty against a St. George man accused of murdering a woman to keep her from testifying after a fatal 2010 shooting.

Brandon Perry Smith, 32, is charged in 5th District Court with aggravated murder and aggravated assault in the stabbing death of 20-year-old Jerrica Christensen.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Last week, Deputy Washington County Attorney Brian Filter filed notice that they will seek the death penalty against Smith, who is accused of killing Christensen to silence her just after his friend, Paul Clifford Ashton, shot and killed Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden, 27, and shot and wounded James Fiske.

During Smith’s October preliminary hearing, Fiske testified that at about 3 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2010, he was at an apartment, located at 575 S. Main Street, with the two women, Smith and Ashton. At some point he saw Jerden "smack" Ashton.

Fiske testified that he saw Smith pull out a gun. Fiske said he heard a shot, then he stumbled out of the apartment, bleeding from a gunshot wound.

Though Fiske testified that he thought it was Smith who shot him, prosecutors believe Ashton fired the gun. During Fiske’s testimony, defense attorneys pointed out that Ashton had already pleaded guilty to fatally shooting Jerden. The Spectrum of St. George reported that in an interrogation tape played in court, Smith told a police detective that he drew his own gun when Ashton pulled his gun and shot Jerden.

Smith also told police that he used a "small pipe" to beat Christensen before cutting her throat, The Spectrum reported.

In September, Ashton, 34, was sentenced to two life terms in federal prison — one for Jerden’s death, and the other for kidnapping and aiding in the murder of Bradley Eitner on Oct. 31, 2010. In that case, Ashton admitted to putting Eitner, 43, in his pickup truck after he had passed out, then assaulted the man before driving into Arizona, where an accomplice purportedlyshot and killed Eitner.

Twitter: @jm_miller

story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.