Layton man, worried about himself, gave his guns to a friend days before he reported killing his wife, in-laws

The man later remembered one of the victims owned a firearm, which he was armed with on Friday morning, he told dispatchers.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Officials investigate a home in Layton where police say a man killed three people before being taken into custody, Friday, May 19, 2023.

A 34-year-old Layton man who confessed to killing his wife and in-laws had surrendered his guns to a friend before the shooting, because “he was thinking of doing this a few days ago,” he told dispatchers Friday.

However, the suspect also told dispatchers during the 9:45 a.m. call that he had forgotten about a gun that belonged to one of the victims — and that was the weapon he was armed with, according to a probable cause statement filed Friday night.

He left and purchased a box of ammunition just after 9 a.m., according to video surveillance discovered by police.

The man called 911 to report the killings at about 9:45 a.m. from his home in the 1800 block of Gentile Ave., police said. He told dispatchers that he had killed his wife, Anastasia Stevens, 36; Anastasia’s stepmother, Becky Stevens, 61; and Anastasia’s father, Donald Stevens, 73, about 20 minutes earlier, according to the probable cause statement.

The man also killed three of the family’s four dogs, police said. The killings occurred after a “domestic violence incident” between the man and Anastasia, according to the statement.

One of the victims had contacted a therapist earlier in the day, worried about a “very real problem,” according to the statement. Authorities did not specify what time this message was sent on Friday or which victim sent it.

“So I uncovered the Megan [sic] load of his shady s---,” the victim said to the therapist. “And it’s really bad. Like scary. I think it may be time for legal interference I know I definitely need to find an attorney and he’s still at the house so I can’t talk.”

The man told Layton dispatchers that his firearms had been stored at a friend’s garage because “he was thinking of doing this a few days ago,” the probable cause statement said. Investigators confirmed the friend had taken possession of the man’s firearms around May 17.

The man initially told dispatchers there would be a “murder suicide.” A post made to Anastasia Stevens’ Facebook profile at the same time he contacted dispatch announced: “MASSACRE SUICIDE” and that the man “JUST KILLED EVERYONE Becky Stevens Don Stevens AND 3 OF THE 4 DOGS,” along with the home’s address. Police did not specify if the man had made the Facebook post.

While the man was placed in a holding cell, he was “excited” and said “I can’t believe I did it,” according to police. He requested his surviving dog not be taken to a shelter, and also asked investigators if the death penalty and firing squad was still active in the state of Utah. The man said he’d rather get the death penalty than life in prison, according to the probable cause statement.

The man was booked into the Davis County Jail at 6:30 p.m. Friday on suspicion of three counts of aggravated murder, three counts of felony discharge of a firearm, and three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals. He is being held without bail, according to court filings.