Ayoola Adisa Ajayi, 31, pled guilty on Wednesday to murdering Mackenzie Lueck after reaching an arrangement with prosecutors that removed the possibility of the death penalty
The ex-army tech worker met 23-year-old Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck in June 2019 on an app that matches women with sugar daddies
Ajayi admitted that he took the victim back to his home in Salt Lake City, on June 17, strangled her and disposed of her body
He plotted to murder Lueck before taking her back to his home in Salt Lake City, Ajayi admitted
The pair met up in a park and he then drove her back to his house where he tied her up and choked her to death with a belt
Ajayi’s guilty plea deal also removed charges of child porn he had been facing
By the arrangement, the defendant also pled guilty to sexually abusing a different woman he met on a dating app
He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole
Murder suspect Ayoola A. Ajayi, 31, On Wednesday pled guilty to aggravated murder and desecration of a corpse in a Salt Lake city court, after reaching an agreement with prosecutors that removed the possibility of the death penalty. Prosecutors dropped charges of aggravated kidnapping and obstructing justice.
Police in Salt Lake City, Utah arrested Ajayi in July 2019. Authorities accused him of kidnapping and killing 23-year-old Utah college student, Mackenzie Lueck, before burying her burned body in the back of his Salt Lake City home.
He was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a body and obstruction of justice in the death of the murdered college student.
Lueck, disappeared after arriving at the Salt Lake City airport on June 17 from a trip home to El Segundo, California, for her grandmother’s funeral.
Ajayi who also pled guilty to sexually abusing a different woman he met on a dating app is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the guilty pleas allow Lueck’s parents to begin to get closure and a ‘measure of justice.’ Gill said the family has asked for privacy.
Lueck has been remembered as a bubbly, nurturing person who belonged to a sorority and was a part-time senior at the University of Utah studying kinesiology and pre-nursing.
She went missing in June 2019, after returning from a trip home to El Segundo, California, for her grandmother´s funeral. Lueck had met Ajayi, 32, on the site Seeking Arrangement, which bills itself as a way for wealthy ‘sugar daddies’ to meet women known as ‘sugar babies,’ his lawyer said.
She took a Lyft to meet him in a park, prosecutors have said. Her phone was turned off a minute after the last text and never turned back on.
Ajayi planned the slaying before the meeting at the park and turned off the video in his home-security system before he left to meet her, his lawyer Neal Hamilton said.
When they returned to his Salt Lake City home, Ajayi tied her up and began to choke her. She tried to stop him, after which he put a belt around her neck, pushed her onto her stomach and strangled her, the attorney said.
Ajayi then burned her body and buried it in his backyard, Hamilton said.
After detectives came to his door to question him, he dug her up and buried her in a shallow grave in a canyon nearly 100 miles north of Salt Lake City. The search for Lueck went on for nearly two weeks before some of her remains were discovered in Ajayi´s backyard and he was arrested.
He later revealed the location of her body in Logan Canyon, where she was found with her arms bound behind her.
The motives for the killing have not been revealed.
The defendant Ajayi who was wearing regulation orange jail uniform, glasses and blue surgical mask, said little at Wednesday´s hearing and occasionally hung his head.
The former information technology worker who had stints with high-profile companies and was briefly in the Army National Guard, is expected to be formally sentenced Oct. 23.
Although he had no criminal records, Ajayi apparently had a history of violence against women. As part of his arrangement Ajayi on Wednesday also pled guilty to sexually abusing another woman he met on a dating app in March 2018.
Investigators said the woman saw coverage of Lueck’s death and came forward to report her assault. They pair had gone to his house for dinner, and the abuse happened while they were watching television.
As part of his plea bargain.
As part of the plea arrangement, prosecutors dismissed 19 felony charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.
Those charges were tagged on after police reported that they found child pornography images children, ages 4-8, on devices seized while investigating Lueck’s death.
When the Lueck murder allegations surfaced in July 2019, Ajayi’s estranged wife went public claiming that he terrorized her during their marriage — slashing her with a butcher’s knife and threatening to kill her. Mother of four Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi, who then was still legally married to Ayoola Ajayi, said she she went into hiding four years earlier to escape his violent abuse.
As part of Ajayi’s plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor related to child pornography allegedly discovered on his devices during the investigation into Lueck’s death.