September 29, 1986
Troy Kell shoots James “Cotton” Kelly for sexually harassing Kell’s friend Sandy Shaw
Shaw (15) had been harassed by Kelly (21) for some time, with Kelly calling Shaw’s house repeatedly and regardless of the time of day, and culminating with Kelly requesting nude photographs of Shaw. At the time, stalker laws were not yet in existence and, despite Shaw and her family going to authorities, little could be done legally to protect Shaw.
Shaw asked her friend, Kell (18), to “do something” about the harassment; she assumed Kelly would be “roughed up.” Instead, Shaw, Kell, Kelly, and another man named William Merritt drove into the desert. Kell then shot Kelly six times in the face. Kelly’s body was left in the desert, though Shaw and another student returned occasionally to show others Kelly’s corpse. Because of this, the murder was referred to in the news as the “Show and Tell Murder.”
One of the students brought to Kelly’s body informed police, leading to the arrest of Shaw, Kell, and Merritt. Shaw was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, though her term was later commuted to allow parole. She was released after 21 years in 2008. Merritt served 12 years for his role in the murder. Kell was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. After he was transferred to a Utah prison, he stabbed a fellow inmate 67 times, earning a death sentence and will be executed by firing squad.