Salt Lake City police failed to intervene before Lt. Gov.’s cousin was killed by abusive ex, lawsuit alleges

The lawsuit argues officers should have taken the ex-husband’s death threats more seriously.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kent Mayne holds a photo of his daughter Amanda, who was fatally shot by her ex-husband, while appearing before state lawmakers in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Amanda Mayne's mother is now suing Salt Lake City police, alleging in a wrongful death complaint that they failed to adequately investigate or intervene before she was killed.

The mother of a Utah woman who was fatally shot by her ex-husband is suing the Salt Lake City Police Department, alleging its officers were aware the man had made threats against her daughter but didn’t properly investigate or intervene before he ultimately killed her.

The lawsuit alleges that 34-year-old Amanda Mayne and her family had reported her ex-husband, 26-year-old Taylor Martin, to the Draper, Taylorsville and Salt Lake City police departments multiple times in the “years, months, and days before he brutally murdered” Mayne. Her mother seeks to overturn a 1996 Utah Supreme Court decision in trying to hold the Salt Lake City Police Department liable, according to the wrongful death complaint.

Despite the “clarity and frequency” of the threats against Mayne and her family, Salt Lake City police “did not properly investigate the situation and assess its lethality or take appropriate steps to protect Amanda,” the lawsuit states. “If it had, she would still be alive today.”

Attorneys for Mayne’s mother said that while the Utah high court’s decision in Tiede v. State holds that the state is “immune in cases of wrongful death,” the case should be overturned because “it relied on an incorrect assessment of the history of Utah’s wrongful death actions.”

Salt Lake City police declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Martin shot Amanda Mayne 14 times on Aug. 17, 2022, killing her. It happened on the corner of 4700 South and 3600 West in Taylorsville, where Mayne normally boarded a bus to work. Investigators say Martin took a ride-hailing service to the location and waited to catch Mayne as she arrived at about 5 a.m.

After shooting her, Martin walked about a block of way and fatally shot himself, police said.

Amanda Mayne, sometimes called “Mandy,” was Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson’s cousin. Henderson spoke out after Mayne’s killing, saying on social media, “Our family is reeling from the devastating and senseless loss of my sweet cousin, cut down in the prime of life — a victim of the sort of violence that has become far too prevalent in our state.”

“We are shocked and grieving,” she continued. “We will miss this precious soul and her golden smile.”

The case inspired a new law that requires officers to conduct a lethality assessment — a series of questions used to determine some’s risk of being killed — when responding to all reports of domestic violence between intimate partners.

“We don’t know if the lethality assessment would have saved Mandy,” Kent Mayne, Amanda’s father, said at the time, “but it was certainly an opportunity missed for some further intervention that might have saved her, and might have given her the resources that she needed in order to stay safe.”

Marriage and early concerns

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Amanda Mayne's mother, Shauna Mayne, embraces Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson after appearing before state lawmakers in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Henderson and Mayne spoke in support of a bill that aimed to strengthen how the state combats domestic violence.

The complaint filed late last month characterizes Amanda Mayne as an adult with “diminished cognitive capacity,” comparable to a teenager. Martin, the lawsuit said, had been diagnosed with mental health disorders and was “unstable” and “prone to episodes of violence.”

These conditions led to “paranoid delusions” that caused him to believe others were “responsible for his life setbacks,” the complaint states. He would “stalk” these people and “obsess about committing acts of violence against them” to “rectify these perceived wrongs,” according to the complaint.

Martin and Mayne met in 2016 and married sometime later. Problems started that December, when, over the course of four days, Martin sent threatening texts — at times “nonstop” — to Mayne’s mother, charging documents state. A Draper officer responded multiple times, telling Martin to leave the mother, Shauna Mayne, alone. She ultimately sought a protective order.

When Martin learned about the order, he emailed Shauna Mayne, saying, “cancel your order or I’ll make it to wear [sic] you have a reason I don’t play games guns or not Guns I’ll f------ do anything to get around it.”

Shauna Mayne ultimately withdrew the protective order and agreed to a two-year mutual restraining order on Feb. 8, 2017. It stipulated that Martin and Shauna Mayne were each barred from committing domestic violence against each other and from threatening or harassing conduct, along with other conditions.

Ten days later, Martin got into a confrontation with his stepfather, allegedly breaking a plastic brush and jumping on the man’s back when the stepfather tried to call 911. When officers arrived, Martin allegedly head-butted, pinched and spat on them.

As police led him out of the house, he shouted, “I swear when I get out I will come here and blow your brains out. I will f------ kill you.” He was charged with multiple offenses and ultimately ordered to two years probation in April 2017.

Days later, authorities reported that Martin had violated the terms of his probation. He had experienced a psychotic episode and was sent to inpatient mental health treatment at the University of Utah’s Psychiatric Institute, or UNI, now known as the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. There, staff reported he made “specific and significant” threats to kill both his mother and his stepfather.

“Staff at UNI were concerned at the specific and alarming threats made and that upon release, Mr. Martin may act on the threat,” according to the report. An arrest warrant was issued on April 26, 2017, and he was arrested the next day.

In September 2017, Martin was charged with multiple offenses in connection with the December 2016 altercation and was subsequently arrested.

That November, while in jail, Martin made at least three mass shooting threats, saying he planned to shoot people in the courthouse and kill the judge in his case, who Martin believed was being unfair. Charging documents state he said, “cops would have to kill him in order to get Martin to stop killing.”

Two months later, in January 2018, he entered into a plea agreement and was sentenced to a year in jail for the December 2016, February 2017 and November 2017 charges.

He was released in March 2019, prompting Amanda Mayne to leave the apartment the two had shared and move in with her father. Martin promptly called police to say Amanda Mayne was missing. When officers later found her at her father’s, officers told Amanda Mayne that one of Martin’s co-workers had reported that he was making plans to kill Shauna Mayne and her son.

The officer believed the co-worker was “just trying to get Martin in trouble,” according to the complaint, “but Shauna urged the officer to take the threat seriously.”

Amanda Mayne’s divorce was finalized on April 26, 2021. Nine months later, Martin began sending threatening text messages to Shauna Mayne, the lawsuit alleges.

“I enjoy destroying your life and relationships potential family members[.] I will continue to. this will Never stop never end[.] your daughter Will be killed .,” one message read.

He said in another message, “I’m hunting you guys down[.] your out of your minds,” according to the complaint.

Shauna Mayne filed a police report with Taylorsville. Officers did not ultimately pursue a case. Despite this, the complaint argues, the evidence shows Martin was serious about his threats.

Threats days before Amanda Mayne’s death

(Office of the Lt. Gov.) A funeral program for Amanda Mayne, who was killed by her ex-husband in August 2022. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson was Mayne's cousin.

On Aug. 15, 2022, Martin showed up at Amanda Mayne’s job in Salt Lake City, the complaint states. He found Amanda Mayne and her boyfriend in a break room, and started yelling “that’s my wife.” He got into a fight with Mayne’s boyfriend, and Mayne called police.

“Dude,” Martin told a responding officer, according to the lawsuit, “I just happened to run into my ex-wife by coincidence.”

“She’s like saying I’m dangerous. I’ve never done anything domestically violent to her, put my hands on her in any way shape or form. I’m not stalking her,” he said. “This is just a coincidence.”

Officers took Martin away but did not arrest him. Mayne had apparently asked police for a protective order that day, but an officer told her she needed to go to the courthouse to file for one, the complaint states.

The next day, Martin allegedly sent an email to the company Amanda Mayne worked for, saying, “Your employee Amanda Mayne and her boyfriend need to watch their back after messing with my friend today. All I could say is if you guys wanna try to save your other staff I’d get rid of them.”

He signed the email “John Dillinger,” the name of a Great Depression-era gangster and banker robber who was killed by the FBI.

Concerned, Mayne’s employers called Salt Lake City police, the complaint states. An officer interviewed Mayne and learned Martin had texted her threats, including one that said, in part: “Your [sic] so stupid I hope you get killed by a car or something this week.”

An officer then contacted Martin to ask about the texts and emails. He denied sending them and hung up the phone, according to the complaint.

The next morning, Martin waited at the bus stop for Amanda Mayne, where police say he killed her while carrying a backpack loaded with a “large amount of ammunition.”

“Viewed in context,” the lawsuit states, “the incident at [Mayne’s workplace] on August 15 and the email of August 16, show that after confronting Amanda, Martin had become unstable and was planning to take Amanda’s life.”

The complaint argues that Salt Lake City police had access to Martin’s criminal history in the days leading up to Mayne’s death and that the department was negligent in how they responded to Martin’s threats, making them responsible for Mayne’s wrongful death.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Salt Lake City police had not filed a formal response to the complaint.

Editor’s note • Those who are experiencing intimate partner violence, or know someone who is, can call the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line, 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or the statewide sexual assault line run by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 801-736-4356 and in Spanish: Línea de Apoyo de Violencia Sexual las 24 Horas de Utah: 801-924-0860.