More calls for death penalty in Provo police officer's killing

A state lawmaker says his bill is perfect for a case like the killing of Master Officer Joseph Shinners on Saturday, while a police officer's widow says she thinks the death penalty is called for in the case. (Photo: KUTV FILE)

A state lawmaker says his death penalty bill is a perfect fit for the man accused of killing a Provo officer.

State Representative Paul Ray, R-Clinton, says that’s why he wrote and fought to pass HB433 in 2017.

Provo Master Officer Joseph Shinners was shot and killed late Saturday night in Orem. The alleged killer is Matt Hoover, 40.

Ray says Hoover fits the exact profile of the bill he crafted.

“Clear-cut death penalty case,” Ray said. “He’s a monster. You don’t want him back on the streets. He’s going to be dangerous in prison. He’s going to go after correctional officers or inmates.”

Nannette Wride agrees. Her husband, Sgt. Cory Wride, was shot and killed five years ago this month after stopping to help someone he thought was in need.

“[Shinners] died the same way as Cory, being shot and killed,” said Wride. And that’s why she believes Hoover should be put to death.

"I think that anyone who kills a police officer, there should be no question they should get the death penalty,” Wride said.

Defense attorney Kent Morgan, a former prosecutor for the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office who handled capital punishment cases for 10 years, agreed that Shinners' murder case does fit the criteria for the death penalty.

“Killing a police officer, in this case intentionally, for the purpose of escaping being held in custody does fit the definition of aggravated murder,” said Morgan. “But we also live in a country where the death penalty is not automatic and never will be. We always have to weigh the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.”

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