Utah man who allegedly killed ex-wife's new husband appears in court
Provo • An attorney for a Lindon man accused of killing his ex-wife's new husband while seeking to kill his ex-wife asked for more time to look at evidence before deciding how to proceed with his criminal case.
Fred Richard Lee, 59, is charged in 4th District Court with first-degree felony aggravated murder which carries the possibility of the death penalty and eight other felonies related to a July 3 rampage at a Lindon townhouse complex.
Lee, shackled and wearing a green jail jumpsuit, made a brief appearance in court Tuesday afternoon. Lee was expected to tell Judge Derek Pullan if he wanted a preliminary hearing, but his attorney, Deborah Hill, asked for a continuance. Lee will be back in court on Oct. 21.
Deputy Utah County Attorney Julia Thomas told the judge that prosecutors were not opposed to the continuance, saying the investigation was ongoing and evidence was still being collected.
Outside of court, Lee's daughter, Jessica Lee, told reporters that her mother was a "strong lady" and that she was proud of her. She said her family is struggling in the aftermath of the shooting that killed 42-year-old Mike Sidwell.
But did the family ever imagine that this would happen?
"To a point, yeah, we did," she said. "But you could never see this coming."
The evening of July 3, Lee allegedly went door-to-door with a shotgun and a handgun, and broke into three apartments, while searching for his ex-wife, according to charging documents.
At the first apartment, he shot Sidwell, who died at the scene about 8:20 p.m., according to Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore.
Sidwell attempted to stop Lee from entering the townhouse, about 166 N. 400 West, which he had shared for about five years with his wife, Lee's ex. But Lee reached into the home and shot Sidwell twice, according to charging documents.
After killing Sidwell, Lee searched the apartment for his ex-wife. Present in the residence at the time was Lee's 5-year-old granddaughter, charges state.
Lee then went to an adjoining apartment, which he entered after shooting into the door and then kicking it in. But that unit was vacant.
Lee then went to a third apartment where a couple in their 60s live, and again shot into the front door to gain access. Lee confronted one of the residents, asking where his ex-wife was, while the other resident hid in a closet. Lee searched the home before leaving, charges state.
"He terrorized them for a minute and searched their house, believing his ex-wife was hiding in there, but he didn't harm them," Cullimore has said. "It all happened very quickly."
Lee then left a rifle, handgun and folding knife on the lawn of the building before leaving the area.
Police located him shortly thereafter, and he admitted that if he had found his ex-wife he would have killed her and then himself, charges state.
Lee also said that he had not killed himself because his mission was not complete because he "did not get" his ex-wife, charges state.
Court documents show that Joy Barbara Lee filed for divorce in December 2005. The divorce was finalized in October 2009.
Three years later, in September 2012, the court entered a mutual restraining order for the couple.
On Aug. 23, 2013, Lee's ex-wife, then using the name Joy Sidwell, requested a civil stalking injunction against Fred Lee.
A temporary stalking injunction was issued on Aug. 29, ordering Fred Lee to stay away from his ex-wife at both her home and work addresses. Fourth District Judge Lynn Davis also ordered Fred Lee not to possess any "weapons, guns and swords."
Following a hearing in September, a permanent stalking injunction was issued.