MANTI—For the first time in three years, Anthony Christensen has accepted responsibility for the murder of Kammy Mae Edmunds.
Several dozen people gathered in 6th District Court on Tuesday, Jan. 21 to witness Christensen enter a guilty plea to the charges of murder, a first-degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
“This is a big deal, and it’s important for our office because one of our primary duties is to get justice for victims,” said Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels. “This is a very victim-driven case, and it’s been on the forefront of my mind for almost three years.”
Christensen admitted that he and Edmunds had been drinking on March 31, 2017 and they got into an argument and he beat her to death. The obstruction of justice charge came from his failed attempt at faking a car accident to escape being charged with her murder.
“For the first time ever, he admitted to it all,” Daniels said. “He knows he did it. He should have accepted responsibility for it right after it happened.”
Last week Christensen appeared in court on a jury trial to determine his guilt in a case of assault against a prisoner while incarcerated in the Sanpete County Jail. The jury found him guilty of the charge. The same day, a jury also found him guilty of being a habitual violent criminal, which enhanced the charges to a first-degree felony. According to Daniels, Christensen is one of only 3-4 offenders in the state who has been categorized as a habitual violent offender.
Reportedly, Christensen was overheard after the jury trials saying, “That didn’t go the way I thought it would.”
Daniels said Christensen has a long history of these violent behaviors.
“This is just his MO,” Daniels said. “When someone does something he doesn’t like, he beats them. For some reason or another he never learned conflict resolution.”
The slaying of Edmunds happened roughly six months after he was released from prison in Wyoming on previous violent charges. He had begun communicating with Edmunds via letter while locked up in Wyoming, and when he got out he came to Utah.
Two charges are being dismissed in the case: one charge of desecration of a body and another charge of assault against a prisoner. The dismissals were conditions of his pleading guilty to the murder of Edmunds, and helped to avoid several costly jury trials that were scheduled for February and March.
Daniels said the guilty plea from Christensen is saving the county from a very large prosecution bill (possibly more than $100,000 in savings to local taxpayers), but the number one goal the entire time has been solely to get justice for Edmunds.
“I hope now the family can start to heal,” Daniels said. “We believe that him pleading straight up to the murder, that we got some justice for Kammy. This wasn’t a deal to plead down. He didn’t get manslaughter, or negligent homicide. Its murder, as it should be.”
Christensen will appear in court on March 4 to be sentenced on all his charges. With two first-degree felonies and one second-degree felony to answer for, Christensen is facing the distinct possibility of spending the rest of his life in a Utah State Prison, said Daniels.
“It’s my belief that if ever anyone deserved life, it’s him,” Daniels said. “He had a chance at rehabilitation already, he failed miserably. That failure resulted in more victims, and Kammy’s death.”
Relatives of the victim were present in court to witness the guilty plea, including Edmunds’ mother, Tammy Coates. After Edmunds’ death, Coates started a nonprofit organization dedicated to combatting domestic violence in honor of Edmunds.
“It’s been two years, nine months, 21 days and a lifetime of hours and minutes since Kammy was ripped out of our lives by this monster and I am glad that he finally admitted he killed her,” Coates said. “It will never bring her back or make it better in any way shape or form. She deserves to be here and to watch her kids grow and succeed. Kammy showed every one love and accepted everyone.”