Suspect in fatal Utah stabbing calls police, turns self in

The 30-year-old man said he’s “sorry things had gone down the way they had.”

Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a fatal stabbing Saturday in West Valley City after he turned himself in to authorities.

Residents in a unit at the Aspenwood apartment complex at 4178 S. 4080 West called police at about 8:15 p.m. on Saturday to report that a man — later identified as Willie Houston, 59 — had knocked on their door seeking help. He had been stabbed and was bleeding.

When police arrived, Houston was unconscious and not breathing. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to a probable cause statement, witnesses saw Houston arguing with another man, and the victim said, “My nephew stabbed me,” before he lost consciousness.

On Monday, West Valley City police asked for the public’s help to locate a man identified as a person of interest in the case.

According to a probable cause statement, Houston’s daughter called police at 3 p.m. Tuesday to say that person of interest had contacted her after seeing himself in news stories. In messages over Instagram, the man told her he was “sorry things had gone down the way they had and regretted the outcome,” according to police.

At the request of police, the victim’s daughter urged the man to call police, and he did. Now considered a suspect, he was arrested without incident.

‘Normal day’ before stabbing

The suspect told police he had planned to spend the night with his aunt — Houston’s girlfriend — on Saturday, and that she was going to help him get into a rehab center. According to police, the suspect said he and the victim had a “normal day,” and they drank beer together on Saturday afternoon.

The suspect then said Houston got a phone call, which made him angry. Houston told the man that he had to leave, the suspect said, and they argued over who should leave the apartment.

According to the probable cause statement, the suspect went on to say that as he was packing up his belongings, he “felt dizzy and thought he might’ve been hit over the head.” He then “grabbed a weapon” and fought with Houston, who tackled him.

The suspect told police that, with Houston on top of him, he used his left hand to try to push him away while striking him in the back with the weapon in his right hand.

The suspect went on to say that after Houston left the apartment, he locked the door behind him, dropped the weapon, finished packing and left through the back door.

“When asked why he didn’t call 911 or try to provide any aid,” the arresting officer wrote in the probable cause statement, the suspect said, “he didn’t care and that it hadn’t crossed his mind.”

The man was booked into the Salt Lake County jail for investigation of murder. He is being held without bail pending formal charges.

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