Jury convicts Roosevelt woman in beating death of Duchesne County 51-year-old


DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Roosevelt woman was convicted last week by a Jury in the beating death of a Duchesne County woman.

Kristy Lee Whitchurch, 39, was convicted of first-degree felony murder and aggravated burglary and second-degree felony aggravated assault on Thursday in Utah’s 8th District Court.

Whitchurch was the 6th person arrested for the incident which occurred on April 6, 2018, and resulted in the death of 51-year-old Sherry Lynn Melo.

On April 6, 2018, police responded to the area of 2700 West 2500 South in the Vonsville area near Roosevelt. When the deputy arrived, Sherry Lynn Melo was sitting on the porch of a home screaming in pain and bleeding from the head, nose, and mouth.

Melo said somebody had broken down her front door and beat her and her husband. The deputy found a man who was also bleeding from his head, nose, and mouth.

Both were taken to the hospital, where medical staff said Melo had bleeding on her brain, later determined to have been caused by Whitchurch hitting her with a baseball bat.

The woman was flown to another hospital for extensive treatment but passed away from her injuries on April 22, 2018.

Melo’s husband told investigators he had been struck with pieces of wood and other objects from his backyard and had been punched and kicked while he was on the ground behind his house.

Whitchurch is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 16.

The other five individuals charged in the incident were Thomas Neil Tuinman, Stephanie Tuinman, Michael Wallace Tuinman, Samantha Tuinman, and Byron Rashad Thompson. They were all charged with aggravated murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated burglary.

Thomas Tuinman, Stephanie Tuinman, Michael Tuinman, and Byron Thompson’s court cases are all still pending.

Samantha Tuinman pleaded guilty to second-degree felony manslaughter on October 7, 2019, and has yet to be sentenced.

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