Military spouse indicted for attempted murder

  • Published
  • By Melodie Rydalch
  • U.S. Department of Justice Public Affairs

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned a two-count indictment April 26, 2017, charging Shawna Marie Chapman, 30, with attempt to commit murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The indictment was unsealed April 28, 2017, following Chapman’s arrest and initial court appearance.  Chapman was residing with her husband, a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

United States Attorney for Utah John W. Huber, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Barnhart of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office, Assistant Director in Charge Andrew Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Col. Shan B. Nuckols, Commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 5th Field Investigations Region, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, announced the indictment April 28, 2017.

The FBI and AFOSI are investigating the case. 

The indictment alleges that on Feb. 10, 2016, Chapman attempted to murder an 11-month-old child by stabbing her in the abdomen and arm with a knife. The indictment alleges the assault resulted in serious bodily injury to the child. The indictment further alleges that Chapman committed the offense while accompanying a U.S. military service member in Spain.

The conduct alleged in the indictment falls within the venue of the United States District Court for the District of Utah since the last known residence for the defendant is Hill Air Force Base, Utah, according to the indictment. 

Chapman entered a plea of not guilty to both counts in the indictment at the initial appearance April 28, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner. Magistrate Warner appointed attorneys from the Federal Public Defenders Office to represent her. A five-day jury trial will begin June 26, 2017, in U.S. District Judge David Sam’s courtroom.

Federal prosecutors sought detention for Chapman pending trial. After hearing argument on the issue, Magistrate Warner released Chapman from custody with standard and special conditions of release, including reporting to pretrial services as ordered, maintaining base housing with notification to pretrial services if housing arrangements change, travel restrictions, surrendering her passport and complying with pretrial services on mental health and other health care issues. 

Magistrate Warner also put in place conditions for supervised visits the defendant may make with the child, including a requirement that they be supervised by a third-party not related to the defendant. The defendant also cannot stay at the home where the child is living.    

Chapman faces up to life in prison if convicted of the charges in the indictment with a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

Indictments are not findings of guilt.  Individuals charged in an indictment are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

Trial Attorney Christine Duey of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Drew Yeates and Andrea Martinez of the District of Utah are prosecuting the case.

(Editor’s Note: AFOSI Special Agents Christian Rivera, 13th Field Investigations Squadron, Spain and Chris Scheib, Detachment 540, Ramstein AB, Germany, worked closely with the Spanish authorities, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office to secure justice for the victim.)