Utah

Mother says slain woman was trying to rebuild her life

A Utah woman who police say was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend got a restraining order after a beating that left her badly bruised in a relationship marked by violence, her mother said.

SueAnn Sands, 39, had visible bruises on her face the day a judge granted the order in early November, mother Becky Jensen told KUTV (http://bit.ly/2gOBnX8).

"I was afraid for her life all the time," Jensen said. Her daughter had a 10-month-old baby girl and was trying to rebuild her life after a struggle with drug abuse, she said.

Jensen said she wants her daughter to be remembered for her big heart and caring personality.

Sands died Sunday, about two weeks after her ex-boyfriend was served with the temporary protective order on Nov. 21, police said. She had stepped away from work to meet with ex-boyfriend James Dean Smith, 33, shortly before she made a panicked call to police Sunday reporting saying that shots were being fired at her car, according to police in American Fork, which is about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Sands tried to drive away, but Smith followed her, rammed her car and fired the fatal shots, police said. He later died following a car chase after a confrontation with police outside a nearby movie theater erupted in gunfire, though police say it wasn't clear whether he killed himself or was killed by officers.

Police have not said whether they responded to previous reports of domestic violence involving Smith, who did not have a lawyer listed in court records Tuesday.

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This story has been corrected to show the victim was 39, not 36.

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Information from: KUTV-TV, http://www.kutv.com/