Teen charged with murder in park shooting has history of sex abuse, assault

Police tape hangs at Tanner Park in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, where a 25-year-old man was shot and killed the day before. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A 17-year-old charged as an adult with shooting one man to death and critically injuring two others made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday.

Andrew Whatcott, of Herriman, is charged in 3rd District Court with murder and six counts of discharge of firearm causing serious injury, all first-degree felonies; plus possession of a firearm by a restricted person and obstruction of justice, second-degree felonies.

Whatcott is accused of firing multiple rounds into a vehicle after a failed drug deal on Oct. 18 near Tanner Park, 2695 E. Heritage Way, killing Domnyk Marez, 25, and critically injuring another man and a woman.

During a brief hearing on Wednesday, another court date was set for Monday to have a detention hearing. Whatcott, who will turn 18 in February, continued to be held in Salt Lake Juvenile Detention on Wednesday. Prosecutors have requested he be held without bail for his adult charges.

Whatcott was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of previous convictions in juvenile court of aggravated assault and forcible sexual abuse.

Whatcott has committed two felony and six misdemeanor offenses in juvenile court, according to juvenile court documents obtained by the Deseret News through an open records request.

In November 2018, when he was 15 years old, he sexually assaulted a California girl who was in Utah visiting, according to court records. While the girl — described in court documents as being 14 years old or older — was trying to sleep, Whatcott tried to take her pants off.

“Whatcott told (her) that he was desperate to have sex but she repeatedly told him no,” the charges state. During the assault, Whatcott grabbed the girl’s throat as he sat on top of her, so she “could not breathe and was getting dizzy.”

Whatcott was charged with rape, object rape and aggravated assault.

The girl told others what happened when she got back to California and gave a statement to the Los Angeles Police Department, according to the charges.

Three months later, shortly after Whatcott turned 16, he punched and kneed a student in the face multiple times as the boy was leaving Herriman High School, charging documents state. The victim told police that “during this assault, he lost consciousness.”

The boy was taken to a local hospital to be treated for broken nose and a concussion. Whatcott was charged with aggravated assault.

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