Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Man pleads guilty to killing woman in 1993

Courts » Plea deal means Stephen Ellenwood may someday be paroled.

First Published Apr 09 2014 10:01 am • Last Updated Jun 10 2014 01:52 pm

Ogden • An Alaska man admitted Wednesday that two decades ago, he killed an elderly Ogden woman.

Stephen Ellenwood, 41, pleaded guilty in Ogden’s 2nd District Court to aggravated murder for the May 1993 death of 92-year-old Grace Mae Odle.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The offense is punishable by death, but in exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors removed the death penalty from consideration, and asked instead that the man be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Judge W. Brent West accepted Ellenwood’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for June 10. Prosecutors said Odle’s family members plan to speak at the sentencing.

Odle was sexually assaulted and badly beaten inside her room at an assisted living home the night of May 3, 1993.

An employee told police she heard faint cries for help coming from Odle’s room. When the employee opened the door, a man ran out, down the hallway and out of the building, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

Odle died six days after the brutal attack.

But it took over twenty years for police to link DNA evidence to Ellenwood, who was arrested at his home in Alaska last May.

At a January preliminary hearing, prosecutors laid out much of the DNA evidence that placed Ellenwood at Odle’s residence, located near 24th Street and Adams Avenue — including that Ellenwood’s fingerprints were found on Odle’s window, that his DNA was on clothing left behind in Odle’s apartment, and that his DNA was linked to a sexual assault of a 57-year-old woman that happened hours later just blocks away.

Prosecutors allege that Ellenwood stabbed the 57-year-old woman, who was walking near 23rd Street and Washington Boulevard, with a letter opener that he had taken from Odle’s apartment. That woman told police that a man had stabbed her, then told her to lie down in some nearby bushes. She complied, and he subsequently raped her.

story continues below
story continues below

Ogden Police Detective Richard Childress testified at the preliminary hearing that a DNA match in the second rape case didn’t come until October 2012, when the match tied Ellenwood — whose DNA profile was taken while he was incarcerated at an Idaho prison from 2002 to 2008 for an aggravated assault conviction — to the second crime scene.

The detective testified that the match was made only recently because DNA testing has become more sensitive as science and technology improved over the years.

Childress said that when he went to Haines, Alaska last May to arrest Ellenwood, he questioned him in a holding cell, where the suspect denied ever being at the assisted living home and denied any involvement in either sexual assault case.

Ellenwood was returned to Utah in July, and is being held without bail at the Weber County jail.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.