Christopher Sutton looked hopeful Thursday as a 3rd District Court judge dismissed charges accusing him of obstructing a South Salt Lake City murder investigation.
He raised his head, lifted his handcuffed wrists. He asked: “Am I free to go?”
The judge shook his head.
Minutes before Sutton’s case was dismissed, new charges were filed against him. He’s now charged with first-degree felony murder, first-degree felony aggravated burglary and second-degree felony obstruction of justice in the killing of Ann Marie Jensen.
Sutton, 36, faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Jensen’s murder has remained something of a mystery since she was found dead in her apartment at 2389 South 300 East on Nov. 4, 2012. An autopsy later revealed the 43-year-old woman had been shot more than once in her upper body with a small-caliber handgun.
New witness testimony revealed Sutton had borrowed a small handgun and was dropped off near Jensen’s apartment around the time of the shooting, according to charging documents.
Two days before her death, Jensen had contacted the South Salt Lake Police Department to report that she had been raped by an acquaintance, who police now believe may have been her drug dealer, the documents state.
A witness told police he had overheard that man speaking on his phone in a threatening manner, saying Jensen had told people he raped her. Shortly after, the witness saw the man had a gun tucked into his waistband and also watched Sutton borrow a small handgun and .22-caliber bullets from another person in the room, the documents state.
The witness then dropped the two men off about a block away from Jensen’s apartment, at 2389 South 300 East.
That night, one of Jensen’s neighbors reported hearing gunshots.
The neighbor told police he followed the noise to Jensen’s apartment. The door was wide open.
As he peered inside, he saw Jensen lying on the floor with blood oozing from her head, the documents state. That’s when he called 911.
Sutton has told investigators he was texting Jensen in the morning on the day she died, according to court documents. He said the messages were about selling drugs, the documents state, but that he and her accused rapist were planning to confront Jensen about her allegation.
Sutton told police he feared the text messages would implicate him in the murder, so he deleted the text messages from his phone, according to the documents. Sutton’s deletion of the texts is what resulted in the charge of second-degree felony obstructing justice, which was dismissed on Thursday.
Sutton remains in the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $1 million bond. No subsequent court dates have yet been filed.