Utah Supreme Court hears convicted murderer’s appeal

Posted at 10:22 AM, Apr 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-01 01:05:01-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday morning regarding an appeal filed by a convicted murderer who wants his life without parole sentence thrown out.

David Edward Drommond Jr. shot and killed Janeil Bradley and wounded her father as they were dropping off their two children during a court-ordered visitation at his Bountiful home in August 2005. When Drommond tried to turn the gun on himself, neighbors wrestled it away and held him for police.

Bradley previously had a protective order against Drommond because he had allegedly choked and threatened her several times.

Drommond was found guilty of aggravated murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Drommond's attorney Scott Wiggins is appealing the life sentence in front of the Utah Supreme Court, arguing that the state gave jurors information that wasn't important in determining his sentence.

"The jury wasn't given the complete picture; an accurate, complete picture," Wiggins said. "By virtue of bringing that in without having that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that resulted in again unreliable evidence."

Wiggins says jurors were told about Drommond's lack of remorse, terroristic threats made to Bradley and how he plotted to kill her family.

He also claims that jurors weren't given a complete picture about Drommond's mental illness. Wiggins told Supreme Court justices that his client had a psychotic break because he was off his medication for bipolar disorder.

"Effexor contributed to his manic phase which in turn resulted in the fatal shooting," Wiggins said.

Wiggins believes that if the defense had called for an expert witness, it would show jurors that Drommond's illness could have been treated and he could have been eligible for parole.

Assistant Attorney General Christopher Ballard argued that the state provided the information about the harassment because it is relevant to Drommond's crime.

"The state wasn't arguing he's committed all these other crimes. He solicited people to assault her or to terrorize her or to threaten her. We weren't arguing that these are additional crimes he's committed. We were simply saying this is the complete picture of what this crime was," Ballard said.