The Sandy man accused of beating his grandmother-in-law to death with a golf club walked into a 3rd District courtroom Wednesday afternoon peering into the gallery.
Kevin David Cuillard, 41, opened his eyes wide and scanned the room a familiar face.
But no friends called out, no relatives smiled. His wife, the woman who claims she found him bloodied and kneeling over her grandmother’s unmoving body, was not there to wave or meet his searching gaze.
Realizing this, he shook his head slightly and stared down at his chained feet as he stood before the judge during his first court appearance.
Cuillard faces one count of murder, a first-degree felony, which carries up to a life sentence in prison.
He will next appear before Judge Charlene Barlow in a West Jordan courtroom on July 22, according to court documents.
Cuillard was arrested on June 20 after police found Arla "Caroline" Christensen, 85, dead in her bedroom, and Cuillard still in the house with blood on his pants and shirt. On the bed was a metal rod later identified as a golf club with a missing head.
Prosecutors allege Cuillard killed Christensen, his wife’s grandmother, at the house, 10164 S. Bannor Hill Road (1985 East), by beating her with the golf club.
The defendant’s wife, Angela Cuillard, told officers her husband was having a psychotic episode and that Cuillard has a history of "severe mental illness" and had not been sleeping in the days leading up to the alleged crime.
Christensen had moved in with her granddaughter sometime during the past year due to health problems, Sandy police Sgt. Jon Arnold said. She previously lived in Mount Pleasant.
In an interview with Sandy police, Cuillard admitted the blood on his clothing was "grandma’s," according to jail documents.
He also told police that "he had to do what he did to make things better," the jail document says. "In his mind, had he not done it, things would have been worse."
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.