Alex Whipple, 21, took off with his niece on May 25, killed her and dumped her remains under trees a block away from the child’s home in Logan, authorities have said.
Because of the gruesome nature of the crime, 1st District Judge Kevin Allen said Tuesday that it was clear that Whipple should never be set free.
“You will never see the light of day,” Allen said, addressing Whipple before the sentencing. “You will never breathe free air again. What you did was so abhorrent and vile that you must spend the rest of your life in prison.”
5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley vanished from her Utah home over the weekend, and her uncle, whom cops consider the main suspect in the case, was arrested on a warrant for a probation violation, local police said.
Alex Whipple, [right], took off with his niece Lizzy Shelley [left], on May 25, killed her and dumped her remains under trees a block away from the child’s home in Logan, Utah
The day she vanished Elizabeth Jessica Shelley was last seen at her home by her mom around 2 a.m. Saturday, Logan City police Capt. Tyson Budge told local station FOX 8.
Eight hours later, police were informed that Elizabeth was missing, according to the report.
Her uncle, Alexander Whipple, 21, had visited the family home the night before and was last seen around the same time as his niece, the outlet reported.
Whipple was later taken into custody and busted on a warrant for absconding from probation and booked into the Cache County Jail, the Logan City authorities called him uncooperative.
Alexander Whipple has been charged with aggravated murder in the death of his sister Jessica’s five-year-old daughter, Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Shelley The […]
Cache County Attorney James Swink called the crime the worst he’s seen in his 22 years on the job, the Tribune reported.
“There is no worse crime than what the defendant committed,” Swink said. “There is no worse crime than sexually assaulting [his niece] and covering up the act by silencing her, by taking her breath from her.”
Relatives raged at Whipple during the hearing.
“You are filth,” Lizzy’s uncle, Zachary Black, said, according to the report. “I hope you spend the rest of your life in a tiny box.”
“I want you to rot,” an aunt chimed in, reading a letter written by Lizzy’s stepfather, Detrich Black. “I hope you remember every day what you did and that it haunts you. I hope you hate yourself as much as I do.”
Whipple’s defense attorney, Shannon Demler, urged the judge to consider granting his client a chance at parole some day — to no avail.
Elizabeth ‘Lizzy Shelley’s shoe sits on a podium during Alex Whipple’s sentencing hearing in 1st District Court on Tuesday in Logan, Utah
Jessica Whipple Black, Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Shelley’s mother speaks with reporters following the sentencing for Alex Whipple Tuesday
Whipple was physically abused as a child, went through periods of homelessness, and struggles with mental health issues as well as substance abuse, the lawyer claimed.
Demler also argued his client might still have some goodness inside.
“He wanted to tell the family, law enforcement and all the others where the body was so they could stop his sister and the people out searching from suffering anymore,” the attorney said, according to the Tribune.
Authorities scoured the area for five days before Whipple revealed the location of her remains in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table, Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said at the time.
The uncle had been linked to her death through DNA evidence. The child’s blood was found on his watch and sweatshirt, according to court documents.
Records indicate that Whipple has a criminal past. – He was convicted of assaulting his roommate in a 2016 domestic incident. He was also busted for allegedly stealing his neighbor’s car and driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the report. He was sentenced to prison in March 2018 but his term was suspended, so he was required to serve 180 days in jail and five years of probation.