South Jordan man, 75, charged with killing former co-worker

He’s accused of killing Masako Kenley, and is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail.

A 75-year-old former co-worker of a Sandy woman found dead earlier this month near the Jordan River was charged Monday with murder in connection with the killing.

Masako Kenley, 53, was supposed to meet co-workers for dinner on July 2 but never arrived. On July 3, her husband reported her missing and police began investigating. Officers found her body near the river early on July 5.

William Richard O’Reilly was arrested soon after and now faces two first-degree felony counts in 3rd District Court: murder and felony discharge of a firearm. O’Reilly has also been charged with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.

Witnesses told Sandy police detectives that Kenley was acquainted with O’Reilly, whom she had previously worked with. Detectives — using cellphone records and surveillance video — learned that the two were together on the afternoon of July 2.

O’Reilly was seen that day driving Kenley’s van, with Kenley as a passenger, from a Midvale business to a heavily wooded area near 8900 South and 1000 West. O’Reilly was seen on video returning Kenley’s van to the Midvale business about an hour later. Kenley was not with him.

A few days later, cadaver dogs located Kenley’s body in that wooded area. According to the charges, an autopsy showed that she had been shot twice (once in the neck and once in the chest) and stabbed four times in the neck.

According to police, a witness told them that on July 3, O’Reilly brought him a gun to clean after it jammed when he fired it.

In the charging documents, police say O’Reilly told them that Kenley became upset with him on July 2, when he told her he had placed a tracking device on her van. He said they got into an argument and she told him “they were done and to take the GPS tracker off her vehicle,” and that he did so.

On July 5, O’Reilly was told police had “pinged Masako’s phone in the Jordan River river bottoms area.” O’Reilly first said he was there with her, then said he hadn’t been there, according to police. O’Reilly later told officers he was supposed to get dinner with Masako that night, but they didn’t end up going.

When O’Reilly was informed that police had his gun, he said he had fired it into an irrigation ditch behind his house. When he was asked why he turned his phone off during the hour he was with Kenley on July 2, O’Reilly said he didn’t know. And when he was told Kenley’s body had been found, he said he could not remember what happened.

When officers searched O’Reilly’s home, police found clothes that appeared to have blood on them. Police say they also found ammunition and a GPS tracking device in the house. They say they found Kenley’s purse, identification and one of her sandals in the trunk of O’Reilly’s car.

O’Reilly was booked into the Salt Lake County jail, where he is being held without bail. According to the charges, he would pose a “substantial danger” if released because of “the brutal way in which Masako was killed. … The defendant claims he is a military veteran, and the way in which Masako was killed appears consistent with someone having military experience.”

O’Reilly was arrested July 5 at a hospital after a suicide attempt.

— Tribune reporter Paighten Harkins contributed to this story.