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Ogden • When Shawn Gerrald Boehme shot and killed Elgie Ray Mills Jr. inside an Ogden storage shed last year, he taught a little girl about evil, Mills' daughter told an Ogden judge Wednesday.
Megan Mills said Boehme taught her then-9-year-old sister about hate, and caused her to worry about things like murder and violence when she should have been focused on things like toys and playing with her friends.
"He took our dad away and we loved him," Megan Mills said as her little sister, Jewleeanna Mills, stood at her side. "I hate that every day we have to watch this little girl be sad."
On Wednesday, just before 2nd District Judge Brent West sentenced Boehme to spend at least 15 years and up to life in prison for the murder, Megan Mills said her 43-year-old father was not perfect, but had tried hard to stay off drugs so that he could spend time with Jewleeanna.
"He had a troubled time in his life," Megan Mills told Boehme. "But he made a point to always be there for [Jewleeanna]. He was a wonderful dad who taught me to respect people. For her, he made it a point to be a good dad. ... You took that away from her when he was just doing better. When he was clean."
Boehme, 47, hung his head as Mills' family described the pain and loss they've felt since the victim's May 28, 2014, death. He then apologized to the family in court Wednesday.
"I'm sorry for taking their loved one from them," Boehme said. "It was a bad situation. I didn't want none of this to happen."
Boehme pleaded guilty but mentally ill in September to first-degree felony murder.
Defense attorney Jonathan Hanks has said that prosecutors settled the case with a plea because they believe Boehme "was operating under drug-induced psychosis."
Hanks told the judge Wednesday that his client believed that he was on the verge of being attacked, and that he shot Mills three times in self-defense. The defense attorney said that after three evaluations, there was no sign that Boehme was currently suffering from a mental illness.
Hanks has said that if the case had gone to trial, they would have argued that Boehme was under "extreme emotional distress" before the shooting, but prosecutors would have countered that Boehme was distressed because of his alleged drug use.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Teral Tree said Wednesday there was no justification for the shooting, and stressed that "this was murder."
The judge emphasized that it is cases like these that show drugs are not a victimless crime, as some believe.
"This was drug-induced paranoia, from which there are real victims," West told Boehme. "Drugs do cause victims. It causes real people to lose things."
At a preliminary hearing last year, Ogden police Detective Arthur Mackley testified that Boehme admitted to police that he shot Mills three times.
He gave three different stories about why he shot the man, Mackley said: That Mills had raped his wife; that the victim had threatened to overtake the storage shed business that Boehme was running; and that he had felt threatened by Mills.
Police went to the storage unit near 2900 Pennsylvania Ave. on May 29, 2014, after a woman called and said she had found a body in the one of the units.
Inside unit No. 79, Mills' body was covered by a blanket. He had been shot twice in the chest, and once in the head.
Utah Medical Examiner Joseph White testified at the preliminary hearing that the two chest wounds were very close to each other, and that gunpowder stippling showed the shooter was likely just feet away when Mills was shot in the head.