Suspect in 2019 murder of University of Utah student pleading guilty

Salt Lake City police take Ayoola A. Ajayi into custody Friday, June 28, 2019, in connection with missing University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck in Salt Lake City. | Photo by Kristin Murphy/The Deseret News via The Associated Press, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — During a hearing Wednesday, suspected murderer Ayoola Ajayi agreed to plead guilty to the murder last year of Mackenzie Lueck.

This undated photo taken from the Facebook page #FindMackenzieLueck shows Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a senior at the University of Utah. | Photo from #FindMackenzieLueck via The Associated Press, St. George News reports Ajayi will plead guilty to charges of criminal homicide, aggravated murder and abuse or desecration of a human body.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Ajayi will no longer face the death penalty and will face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

Lueck, a 23-year-old University of Utah student, went missing after returning to Salt Lake City on June 17, 2019.

Social media and phone activity from Lueck’s accounts ceased around 3 a.m., shortly after she was last seen at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake. She had taken a Lyft to the park and the driver told police she willingly got into a vehicle and left the park with someone that morning.

Authorities began investigating Ajayi and neighbors said they had seen him burning something in his backyard, using gasoline as an accelerant, on June 17 and 18.

After a citywide search, Lueck’s charred remains were found in Logan Canyon on July 3, 2020.

Read the full story here:

Written by JEFF TAVSS,

Copyright 2019, KSTU. A Tribune broadcasting station

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