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Man charged with murder of U of U student MacKenzie Lueck pleads guilty

Crime Watch

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Ayoola Ajayi, inset, was formally charged on July 10, 2019, with the murder of MacKenzie Lueck. His residence was searched again by officials later that day. | Courtesy Salt Lake County and Patrick Benedict, Gephardt Daily

SALT LAKE CITY (Gephardt Daily) — Ayoola Ajayi, charged in the murder of 23-year-old University of Utah student MacKenzie Lueck, entered a guilty plea in court Wednesday afternoon.

Ajayi, 32, pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court for charges of aggravated murder, abuse or desecration of a dead human body and criminal homicide.

Charges of aggravated kidnapping and obstruction were dropped.

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Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill released the following statement:

“Today Ayoola Ajayi entered a plea of guilty for aggravated murder, and desecration of a human body surrounding the tragic death of Mackenzie Lueck. Ayoola Ajayi also pled guilty to forcible sex abuse in a separate case. Part of the plea agreement is that Ayoola Ajayi will spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“I want to thank the prosecutors, investigators, and police officers that helped resolve this matter. The entry of the pleas today starts the process of bringing some closure and a measure of justice to the Lueck family.”

MacKenzie Lueck. | File photos

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Ajayi was taken into custody after phone records linked he and Lueck just before she went missing on June 17, 2019.

Human tissue later recovered in Ajayi’s backyard burn pit had a DNA profile consistent with Lueck, and her belongings also were found in the ashes.

The rest of Lueck’s body was recovered from a shallow grave in an undisclosed area of Logan Canyon on July 25, 2019 after Ajayi’s phone records placed him at that site. He was taken into custody on July 28 of last year.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.

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