A 44-year-old Orem man admitted Thursday to fatally stabbing his live-in girlfriend last year and mutilating her body before driving to Washington state to surrender.
Steven Gray pleaded guilty in 4th District Court to first-degree felony aggravated murder, second-degree felony mayhem, and third-degree felony abuse or desecration of a dead human body in connection with the October slaying of 44-year-old Jennifer Brackenbury.
According to court documents, Gray has agreed to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole when he appears again before Judge Claudia Laycock on May 20.
Between Oct. 20 and 26, Gray stabbed the victim more than 40 times with a knife at the trailer home they shared, including cutting her throat, stabbing her in the genitals and cutting off one of her breasts, according to charges.
He then dragged her body to a bathroom, where he dumped cleaning chemicals on her body to prevent decay or odor, according to charges.
Gray then removed the clothing he wore while committing the crime, removed jewelry from the victim’s body and partially cleaned up the scene, charges state. He also attempted to seclude the body by securing doors and windows with ropes and other means.
Gray then fled to Yakima, Wash., where he confessed the crime to police.
Court documents indicate that on Oct. 26, Gray walked into the Yakima police station and asked to speak to an officer for whom he was once an informant.
Gray told the officer he had awakened from a “drug-induced sleep,” to find Brackenbury dead from multiple stab wounds to the chest. Gray said he “freaked” out, moved the body to the bathroom and left the residence, according to court documents.
Based on that information, Orem police officers entered the trailer home and found the victim.
Later the same day, Gray confessed to Yakima police that he was the person who had stabbed Brackenbury and mutilated her body, court documents state.
A search of Utah court records show that Gray’s only other criminal conviction was for DUI in 2010.