Teens Charged With Attempted Murder for Shooting Girl in Head Over ‘Annoying’ Snapchat Messages

LOGAN, Utah — Two 16-year-old boys who plotted to shoot a 14-year-old girl in the head because her Snapchat messages were “annoying” will be tried as adults, a judge ruled this week.

First District Juvenile Court Judge Angela Fonnesbeck announced her decisions on Monday and Wednesday regarding defendants Colter Peterson and his accomplice Jayzen Decker.

“He planned and he acted. He pulled the trigger. He took deliberate and specific action intending to take the life of another human being,” she said of Peterson.

According to reports, after being arrested, Peterson told police that he became annoyed that Deserae Turner, 14, kept texting him and sending him messages via the app Snapchat. Peterson told Decker about the matter, who allegedly advised that it would “be pretty easy to get rid of her.”

The two then plotted to lure Turner to a canal under the guise of selling her a pocket knife, where they initially planned to slit her throat.

The teens changed their mind about the method of attack and ultimately decided to shoot Turner in the head. Peterson is accused of pulling the trigger and Decker is facing charges for egging Peterson on to shoot the girl.

Both boys are also accused of breaking Turner’s cellphone and iPod, and stealing $55 from her backpack while leaving her for dead.

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Turner miraculously survived the incident after being found by two women who decided to walk a trail along the canal when her parents reported her missing. The girl now suffers from paralysis on the left side and partial blindness. She still has bullet fragments in her brain.

“She has undergone a tough surgery and continues to fight for the ability to complete daily tasks many of us take for granted,” Turner’s father told reporters in March.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, during testimony this week, Peterson’s family told the court that his actions were uncharacteristic of his “kind and gentle” demeanor. But Smithfield Detective Brandon Muir testified that a link had been found on the teen’s phone that contained violent content, including ISIS beheadings and pornography.

Judge Fonnesbeck expressed concern over the revelation, and said that she was unsure as to whether Peterson was sorry for the act or for being caught. She ordered that both he and Decker stand trial as adults.

Peterson’s attorney, David Perry, expressed disagreement with Fonnesbeck’s decision.

“It’s unfair that he didn’t remain here in the juvenile system, because this system has so much more opportunities for rehabilitation, treatment, education. He’s only 16-years-old,” he said. “If he goes to prison, by the time he gets out, it will be 17 years … before he could even be thought of being released. That’s longer than he is old.”

Decker’s attorney, Shannon Demler, told the court that the teen is remorseful for his participation in the plot.

“He’s very apologetic,” she said. “He understands a terrible thing happened, and even though he didn’t have the gun, he wasn’t the shooter [and] do anything such as that, he definitely is apologetic for any actions that he had that [were] involved in this situation.”

Both teenagers are now facing charges of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice.

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  • MyLady1

    Wonder why she kept texting and what they were about? And did he reply? I wish they would tell the whole story sometimes.

    • Rich

      Does it really matter what she texted, if in fact she even did text. They tried to murder a 14 year old girl. why do you care about the texts?
      The point here is that our youth care nothing for anyone but themselves. That could just as easily have been his parents he shot for making him eat his vegetables!

      • Sharon_at_home

        The texts were what made the attempted murder happen, and his phone was searched for texts and discovered porn and violence like ISIS beheadings. Which makes him a bit more than questionable in the first place.
        I think she thought he liked her because he acted like it at some point, or she forgot to make her snapshots private and sent them to all her friends? How would what she texted make a difference to the article? It didn’t show the reason for what happened technically, so it didn’t add to the case, I expect.

    • Colin Rafferty

      Do you think she was asking for it? What difference does it make to whether they should or should not have shot her in the head and left her for dead?

      • Robert

        Do you think she was completely sinless in this. perhaps or perhaps not . the Judge will need to know for sentencing purposes. If she was a mean spirited stalker they might get a lighter sentence.

        • Colin Rafferty

          My general assumption is that the victim is just that, a victim. I prefer to assume that a victim did not call this upon herself. There is no evidence, or even rumor, that she is anything other than a victim.

          Whoever did this to her are animals, and deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

    • Robert

      Yes that would give a more complete picture of what all went on .The Jury will need to know it.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    So sad. May God bring salvation and healing to Turner. Secular nations’ children need Christian education to make sense out of life. I read “13 Reasons Why.” If that’s really average teens’ life, animal life has a better meaning and better honor. Animals mate to leave the offsprings but these teens just torment each other for no reason, lying habitually and living for immorality. (Even the main character boy was a lying villain, too.) Children should hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be taught to respect God and respect parents and to live properly according to the Word of God.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    The images of the criminal boys should be up and not the victim girl’s.

    • Colin Rafferty

      Here in the US, minors accused of a crime are given protection. So are the victims, but her family wanted her name and pictures public.

      If they are convicted, you will see their pictures.

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        I see. I thought she would not want her photo to be up if she knew.

  • Nidalap

    As the society continues to turn it’s face from God, such chaos will only increase exponentially…

    • TheLastHonestLawyer

      Utah is one of the most religious states in the Union. Try again.

      • Nidalap

        So it’s one of the ‘most religious’ states of a group turning their faces away.
        There’s probably a ‘most religious’ of the counties in California too…

  • Execute a few minors and this will never happen again.

    • Grace Kim Kwon

      Life for life

    • Robert

      Only the excited won’t be able to do it. Other teens will even christian teens still have a sinful nature that can never be christian. When your being shot in the head its little comfort to know .well at least he was a christian that shot me.

  • Robert

    The boys are fortunate God spared her life . Or it would be a lot longer sentence. I would think than 17 years. Sounds to me like the two boys sentenced her to a life time of hardships and pain.

  • Smithfield Detective Brandon Muir testified that a link had been found on the teen’s phone that contained violent content, including ISIS beheadings and pornography.

    While it is a horror that anyone would do these things, I think I need to point out a (possibly) unintentional consequence of such media reports (when the consequence is intentional, it amounts to propaganda–mind control)

    We should be aware that when a fundamentalist Christian murders someone (e.g., Lloyd Montier Barrus’ murder of a policeman in Montana and the San Bernardino shooter who shot up a special needs classroom), it is rarely mentioned in the media that he was a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian and/or had pornographic matter in his possession. Heck, most Christians love porn but will never admit it. It’s the biggest money maker on the Internet.

    The Montana shooter was actually an outspoken Christian pastor and Barrus was deeply fundamentalist.

    Yet when a Muslim (or someone having pictures of ISIS slayings) or an atheist is driven to kill, their connection to even moderate Islam or atheism, and/or possession of porn, most often IS pointed out.

    This, and of course, the emotional rhetoric of self-serving politicians, is the reason why so many people believe virtually all believers in the religion of Islam are terrorists or potential terrorists and have an abiding fear of atheists. Christians, too, can be murderers and terrorists, although not to the scale as a small minority of Muslims.

    Be that as it may, we would all have a much safer and beautiful world were all believers in exclusive, organized religions to discard all of their religious beliefs and live only by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Most religions profess this, but then, instead of actually following that tenet, build solid walls of exclusive dogma that actually divides the world and increases xenophobia (on which religion feeds).

    Think about that one Golden tenet. Consider what the world would be like if empathy and benevolent reciprocity, instead of self-interest, were our primary motivating force.

  • GreenLife Express

    Lawlessness….the world is exploding with it and it will only get worse. The Lord is at hand…Maranatha!

    a state in which there is widespread wrongdoing and disregard for rules and authority Synonyms anarchy, misrule Related Words anarchism; commotion, tumult, uproar; chaos, confusion, disarray, disorder, disorderliness, disorganization, misorder; disruption, disturbance, havoc, riot, strife, turbulence, turmoil, unrest, upheaval; mutiny, rebellion, revolution, uprising; criminality, outlawry

    activities that are in violation of the laws of the state Synonyms criminality, lawbreaking, crime Related Words outlawry; gangsterism, hooliganism, racketeering; malfeasance, misconduct; wrongdoing; evil, immorality, sin, wickedness; corruption, depravity; malefaction, misdeed, misdoing, offense (or offence), transgression, trespass

  • Dianne

    This is a very tragic story. I hope and pray that the victim will fully recover someday. The judge made a just decision. I also hope and pray that the perpetrators will repent to Jesus Christ in prison. Some good may come out of this to the glory of God the Father. Let us all pray for that. Amen