OGDEN -- Judge Ernie Jones called Skyler Shepherd "callous," "spineless" and "reckless" before sentencing him to jail.
Jones ordered Shepherd on Wednesday to serve two one-year sentences in Weber County Jail and one sentence of six months in jail, all to be served consecutively.
Jones ordered that Shepherd not be considered for work release. He also sentenced Shepherd to pay more than $10,000 in restitution.
A six-member jury found Shepherd guilty of reckless endangerment and obstruction of justice, both class A misdemeanors, and failure to render aid, a class B misdemeanor, following a three-day trial in December. The charges are for the boating death of Esther Fujimoto at Pineview Reservoir on Aug. 21, 2011.
The sentences are the stiffest Jones could give.
"The sentences do not fit the crime," Jones said. "My hands are tied, because this is what the Legislature says they are worth."
The Weber County Attorney's Office could only charge Shepherd with misdemeanors in 2011 following the death of Fujimoto, a University of Utah molecular biologist. In March 2012, legislators changed the law so that leaving the scene of a boating accident is a third-degree felony instead of a class B misdemeanor.
"I don't know what adjective describes what happened, but what comes to my mind is you were absolutely callous, reckless and spineless," Jones said. "Ms. Fujimoto was literally struggling to stay alive. Who knows what would have happened if Mr. Vaughn Anderson had not showed up. She would have slipped below the surface, and we could still be looking for her body today."
Jones said he saw no remorse from Shepherd in all the hearings and during the trial.
The propeller of Shepherd's boat, driven by friend Colton Raines, broke Fujimoto's pelvis and slashed her lower body, nearly severing one leg.
Shepherd has claimed he saw no injuries and did not hear any screams, then took the wheel from Raines and drove back to Fujimoto, where he claimed he asked if she was all right. He said he failed to see any injuries and left her there.
Shepherd's attorney, Glen Neeley, had asked Jones to consider a probation sentence and have the jail times run concurrently.
"This kid has value," Neeley said. "The media has painted him as a kid who does not care, but he did."
Shepherd did turn around and read a statement to friends and family of Fujimoto.
"I extend my deepest apologies and condolences to all of you. I'm truly sorry and will be all of my life," Shepherd said.
He called Fujimoto "an amazing person, who paid attention to detail. She was loved very much."
"I realize the huge mistake I made," Shepherd said.
Esther's brother, Bryan Fujimoto, read a statement in court.
He read of how his youngest sister fought breast cancer and won, and how she loved to swim every day. Her death has been "an unspeakable loss."
Shepherd did nothing to help her, he said.
After the hearing, Bryan Fujimoto said when he heard Shepherd's statement only one word came to mind, "disingenuous. I don't think he was remorseful, but disingenuous."
Bryan Fujimoto said it has been difficult for his family and friends to explain to others why prosecutors could only charge Shepherd with a misdemeanor and not a felony.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Dean Saunders said the "sentence sends a very strong message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated."
Co-defendant Raines faces the same charges as Shepherd. Robert Cole Boyer, the third person in the boat, is charged with a single count of obstructing justice. Trial dates for both are set for Feb. 11-14.
Saunders said he would not be surprised if their attorneys call to discuss a plea.
Saunders did serve Shepherd a subpoena at the sentencing hearing to testify at the trial for Raines and Boyer.
"I really don't believe (Shepherd's) version," Saunders said. "It was obvious to them she was injured."