Beaver County man waives rights, pleads guilty to murder of girlfriend

Stock Photo | St. George/Cedar City News
Ronald Cory Fordham, Beaver City, Utah, booking photo posted April 10, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Beaver County Sheriff's Office, Cedar City News
Ronald Cory Fordham, Beaver City, Utah, booking photo posted April 10, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY – A 42-year-old Beaver County man recently waived all of his rights to a trial, choosing instead to plead guilty of murdering his girlfriend last month.

Ronald Cory Fordham entered a guilty plea to first-degree felony murder in 5th District Court April 25 after first trying to plead no contest.

Fordham shot and killed his girlfriend, 37-year-old Desiree Shotwell, April 10, in her own home located southeast of Beaver City. Authorities said he had been drinking.

Fordham’s attorney Edrick Overson told Judge Michael Westfall his client wanted to enter a no contest plea but asked the court to dismiss the third-degree felony he was facing for being in possession of a firearm as a restricted person.

Beaver County Attorney Von Christiansen objected to the plea of no contest. Overson then informed the court, after a five-minute recess, the defendant would enter a guilty plea.

Fordham waived the right to a preliminary hearing and all other rights afforded him.

The court accepted the guilty plea and upon Fordham’s wishes proceeded with sentencing.

After hearing from a representative for the victims, Westfall listened to Overson speak on his client’s behalf. Fordham also addressed the court.

Westfall sentenced the defendant to the maximum fines and penalties on count one, first-degree felony murder, ordering him to an indeterminate term but no less than 15 years in the Utah State Penitentiary. Fordham could spend life in prison under the court’s order.

The fine was set at a total of $19,043. Restitution was left open for a year, meaning there was no amount ordered at the time of sentencing but the state has up to one year to still file.

The court dismissed count two, possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

Westfall recommended Fordham spend the rest of his life in prison.

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • ladybugavenger May 7, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Good for him taking responsibility for his actions and not wasting people’s time and money. Thoughts and prayers to the families affected by this. I will never understand this grief and I only hope the evil and torment these families are going through is overcome. Romans 12:21 Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.

    • .... May 8, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Yeah it’s done.closure for the family and let them move on

  • old school May 7, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Kudos on the Beaver county court system, would be nice to see justice move that swiftly all the time

  • 42214 May 8, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Desiree Shotwell? Who makes this stuff up?

    • beckys March 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      EXCUSE ME!!! DESIREE SHOTWELL WAS MY SISTER YOU …, WHY DONT YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY BEFORE YOU SAY IT!!!!!!…
      Ed. ellipses.

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