Hearing set for 1993 murder of 92-year-old Utah woman
Courts • Stephen Ellenwood is charged with aggravated murder in the death of 92-year-old Grace Mae Odle.
Published: September 11, 2013 05:23PM
Updated: September 11, 2013 06:03PM
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Grace Mae Odle (Family photo)

Ogden • Evidence in a 20-year-old murder case is set to be presented during a preliminary hearing in January.

Though 92-year-old Grace Mae Odle died in May 1993, the man who police believed killed her wasn’t arrested until this May.

After his arrest in Alaska, Stephen P. Ellenwood, 40, was extradited to Utah and charged in Ogden’s 2nd District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony.

On Wednesday, Ellenwood appeared in court, and a preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 9-10. At that hearing, 2nd District Judge Brent West will hear evidence about the case and decide if there is probable cause to believe Ellenwood killed Odle in her apartment two decades ago.

According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant, police were called to Odle’s apartment near 24th Street and Adams Avenue in Ogden on May 3, 1993, on a report of a sexual assault.

An employee of the apartment complex, which functioned as a multistory assisted-living center, told police she heard faint cries for help coming from one of the rooms. The employee went to Odle’s room, and when she opened the door, a man ran from the room, down the hallway and out the building, according to the affidavit.

Odle, who was beaten and sexually assaulted during the attack, died six days later.

Several hours after Odle was assaulted, a 57-year-old woman reported she had been stabbed and sexually assaulted while walking to a bus stop a block from Odle’s apartment, according to court documents.

DNA evidence was gathered from that crime scene, but investigators were unable to make a match until October 2012, when it was compared to DNA taken from Ellenwood while he was incarcerated at an Idaho prison from 2002 to 2008 for an aggravated assault conviction.

Once Ellenwood’s DNA was matched to the second sexual assault, police were able to compare his fingerprints to a print lifted from Odle’s apartment. It was also a match, according to the affidavit.

Ellenwood was arrested at his home in Alaska in May, and returned to Utah in July.

He is being held without bail at the Weber County Jail.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller