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Man charged with beating a woman to death with a rock in South Salt Lake

(Photo courtesy of the Salt Lake County jail) Jovanie Silva has been charged with aggravated murder.

A man has been charged with murder in the brutal killing of a woman who was beaten to death with a rock in South Salt Lake.

Jovanie Alejandro Silva, 22, who is homeless, is facing a charge of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in 3rd District Court.

On Sept. 28, the “nearly nude” body of 23-year-old Kaitlyn Barron was found next to a building near the corner of 300 West and Ironwood Drive, about 2600 South. According to South Salt Lake police, her head was “covered in blood” and she had suffered injuries to her face, head and right hand. There were “multiple” pools of blood near her body, and blood spatter on a nearby wall.

According to charging documents, police found “marks in the dirt” that suggested Barron had been “dragged a short distance,” and there were “large pools of dried blood” in the area where they believe she was initially assaulted.

And “next to the large pool of blood was a large, wedge-shaped rock covered in blood.”

(Photo courtesy of South Salt Lake Police Department) Pictured is Kaitlyn Barron, 23, who was killed on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020.

Police obtained surveillance video from a nearby business, which showed a man and a woman — later identified as Silva and Barron — walking in the area at 4:28 a.m. on Sept. 27. After they moved out of view of the camera, Barron “can be heard screaming ‘Knock it off’ and continuing to scream and cry for approximately three minutes, followed by impact sounds.” Silva was seen leaving the area just after 5 a.m.

According to a report from the state medical examiner, Barron was killed by blunt force trauma to the head; she suffered more than 40 lacerations.

Using surveillance video from several businesses, South Salt Lake police tracked Silva about 2.3 miles to the Homeless Resource Center at 3380 S. 1000 West, where he was identified by a staffer there. Silva was later tracked to his place of employment and arrested.

According to the probable cause statement, blood-stained underwear found among Silva’s possessions and the shoes he was wearing tested positive for Barron’s blood, and saliva found on her body was a DNA match to Silva.

Silva is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail.

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