Anthony Christensen confronted by victims, sentenced to prison
By Robert Stevens
MANTI—During the sentencing of Anthony Christensen for the brutal murder of his girlfriend Kammy Mae Edmunds, Judge Marvin Bagley told the standing room only crowd in court that the hearing was more about providing a time for Christensen’s victims to confront him than about the actual sentence.
After fighting the charges for three years, Christensen changed his plea to guilty in February. He has a long and violent criminal history, so it was no surprise when Bagley handed him down two terms of 5-years-to-life and another 1-15 years in the Utah State Prison, but first came an emotional string of statements from Edmunds’ loved ones.
The court heard from Edmunds’ mother, sisters, brother, aunt and cousin. Each of them recounted how Christensen’s actions had torn Kammy Mae from them. Each of their victim statements to the court held a strong theme—that nothing will ever be the same again after the tragic loss of Kammy Mae.
Kammy Mae’s sister Lynsi spoke at length about the fateful day, March 31, 2017, when her and her family discovered Kammy Mae had been slain. She told the court, “I’m sure I am repeating myself and I could continue with so many stories about Kammy and how the world was just a better place for everyone with her in it. We all have that person, the one that just makes your life better. Kammy deserves justice because she didn’t have a choice to stay or go; she was RIPPED BRUTALLY from this world, by someone she showed nothing but love.”
Kammy Mae’s brother, Kyle Edmunds, had equally moving words about the loss his family has experienced.
“Kammy Mae, my sister, an angel on earth needs justice,” he told the court. “My life has changed drastically as well as my family’s life. I want the court to know of all the sleepless nights, how many of my family members have cried themselves to sleep. I want the court to know the confusion and pain from my sister Kammy Mae’s murder has changed any person’s life who knew her. I want the court to know that Kammy Mae’s children will never know what an angel their mother was and will always be. I want them to know that this hell my family has experienced is going to have some type of closure, and I have no illusions that it will make me feel comforted, but my family needs to heal.”
The statement of Tammy Coates, Kammy Mae’s mother, was the last from the victims, and by the time she stood up to say it, much of the court was already filled with quiet sobs and the sound of people trying to suppress their tears.
“This will never make sense to me,” Coates said. “Something so brutal, so full of hate and anger, did not have to happen. He made that choice to take her life. I ask the court, I beg the court, to give the strictest, harshest punishment allowed because he and he alone has sentenced my family to a life without Kammy, a mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend. What he has taken from me, from us, those two children, this whole family! We will forever be broken. He knew how much she was needed and he still beat her to death!”
In addition to the pleas from Edmunds’ family, Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels also advocated Christensen receive as strict of punishment as possible—including enhancement of one of his charges to include a special “habitual violent criminal designation.”
“This is an individual that’s been at the criminal game for a very long time,” Daniels told the court. “He cannot abide by the rules of society, but society keeps giving him chances. He has multiple stints in prison, and had multiple opportunities to reform, but he does not avail himself of that chance.”
Daniels told the court that Christensen has followed a pattern of violent behavior since a young age, which has stuck with him his entire life, leading to a violent mindset.
“While he was awaiting trial for murder, he assaults someone at the jail,” Daniels said. “If there was ever someone who needed to be warehoused, it’s him.”
Christensen’s attorneys spent a few moments hammering out the final details of the case before the official sentence was given. In a plea-negotiation, Christensen was given two 5-years-to-life sentences for murder and assault by a habitually violent offender, both first-degree felonies, and 1-15 years for obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
The agreement also stipulated that the sentences would run concurrently.
“There was never any question that prison was going to be the outcome of this case,” said Dana Facemyer, one of Christensen’s attorneys. “That being said, I want to say that I have had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Christensen for a while now. When I first knew him he was very combative, very feisty. He wanted to sue anybody over everything, but I have noticed a change in him towards the end here. It’s a small spark, a glimmer of humanity if you will, but nevertheless, it is still there.”
As Judge Bagley prepared to give out the sentence and bring the tragic three-year chapter to a close, he asked Christensen if he would like to say anything.
“It’s a lot to take in, your honor,” Christensen said as he moved to wipe away a tear. “I apologize to the family. I hope they find forgiveness so they can grieve. Not for myself, but so they can get past this. I don’t want them to have to harbor the hate and anger any longer. I wish the best for all of them, and I have a lot of respect for the ones that spoke here today. That takes courage and I respect that.”
After a moment of silence, Judge Bagley asked Christensen directly, “Why did you do it?”
“I was under the influence your honor,” Christensen answered. “There are some things in this case that I still can’t agree with, but I have accepted accountability so I can’t contest them. “
He went on to say his obstruction of justice charge, which stemmed from him faking a car accident to try and avoid blame for Edmunds’ death, was not his doing, and he was innocent for that.
“I suspect we’ll never know the full story, but we do know enough to know what you did was horribly wrong,” Bagley said. “The sad thing Mr. Christensen is you’ve done horrible things in the past and you haven’t learned from them. I hope this is different, not that it will matter though. The Board of Pardons will likely keep you there until you die or until they are convinced that you cannot harm anyone else.”
Bagley went on to say that, in a case like this, there is never just one victim. It wasn’t just Kammy Mae. It was her children, her siblings, her mom, her friends.
“Mr. Christensen, you are the cause of all this hurt,” the judge said. “There is no justification for it. There is nothing anyone should say to you to make you feel better. It was wrong, it shouldn’t have happened. “
Finally, Bagley turned to the crowded courtroom and addressed Christensen’s living victims.
“The best way to honor Kammy Mae’s name is to live the best life you can,” Bagley said. “Mr. Christensen is an abuser, and abusers want control over people. If you go about your life letting him control you going forward then he is going to continue to abuse you. But if you don’t allow that and go forward being the best you can be, you will be honoring Kammy Mae’s name, and you’ll be sticking it in the eye of Mr. Christensen.”