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Man says victim never asked for help in boating death case

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Posted at 7:42 AM, Dec 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-13 21:09:53-05

OGDEN, Utah -- Closing arguments in the trial for one of the men accused of hitting a woman with a boat on Pineview Reservoir, and leaving her to die, are expected Friday morning.

Skyler Shepherd and two other men, Colton Raines and Cole Boyer, were on the boat the night of August 21, 2011, when 49-year-old Esther Fujimoto was hit and killed while swimming in the reservoir.

What happened after Fujimoto was hit by the boat is what jurors are trying to figure out.

Thursday was the third day of testimony in the case. Jurors watched a video tape with police questioning Shepherd about the incident. On the tape, Shepherd said he was in the back of the boat while Raines was driving.

"I asked Colton what happened and he said 'I don't know. I saw a lady and swerved out of the way,'" Shepherd said on the tape. "Help never left her mouth. She never said Help to me, never once. She was very upset with us. That's the plain truth. I didn't see her injuries."

Jurors also heard emotional testimony earlier this week from the man who tried to save Fujimoto. He said the three suspects left her in the water to die.

Defense attorneys argue that Shepherd, Raines and Boyer asked Fujimoto if she was okay and she responded that she was, and that is why they left the scene. The men thought they had missed hitting her, according to defense attorneys.

Prosecutors argue that the men could have done more to save Fujimoto's life.

Fujimoto's family said Shepherd has shown little remorse since the incident.

"Given the past 15 months, and from the defendant's side, it is very, very consistent. And hence, that is the outrage that I feel, that I've felt and read and heard in that ensuing time period from the public, from society at large," said Bryan Fujimoto, Esther Fujimoto's brother.

One of the first responders also testified that if the men had called 911, emergency officials could have been at the scene within two minutes.

Shepherd is facing misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment, obstruction of justice and failure to render aid.

Trials for the other two men involved are set to begin in February.