Salt Lake City police arrest suspect in fatal 2018 stabbing

Suspect reportedly believed the victim had stolen his cellphone.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City Police investigate a stabbing near 500 North and 300 West, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. A suspect has now been arrested, more than two years later.

Police have arrested a suspect who allegedly stabbed a woman to death more than two and a half years ago.

According to police, the 34-year-old suspect was angry because he believed the woman, Candace Rose Samples, 20, stole his cell phone.

Investigators collected evidence at the scene of the crime — the parking lot outside a Dollar Tree store at 477 N. 300 West — but findings from the state crime lab were not returned until two months ago, police said. “Homicide investigations are sometimes long and complicated,” the SLCPD tweeted, “but we never rest, and cases are never cold.”

In November 2018, witnesses told police that Samples and another person stole the suspect’s cellphone while they were all at Salt Lake City’s Marmalade branch library. According to a police report, “The suspect chased the female across the street and was holding her at knifepoint demanding that he get his cellphone back” and told witnesses and Samples “that he would kill for his phone while holding her at knifepoint.”

Witnesses told another man that Samples was being held at knifepoint. That man tried to help Samples, but the attacker stabbed him several times to his face, hands, ribs and shoulders, the report alleges. The man was critically injured, but recovered from his wounds.

After stabbing the man, the suspect turned to Samples and stabbed her repeatedly “all over her body” before running from the scene, the report said. An autopsy showed that Samples had been stabbed more than 26 times.

The suspect was identified on surveillance video, but tests confirming that the blood on his clothes was Samples’ did not come back until May. Pending charges, he is being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail.

The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not name suspects until they have been formally charged with a crime.