Layton man sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting wife, in-laws

Jeremy Bailey, 34, was charged in May after he confessed to the murders while on the phone with 911 dispatchers.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Officials investigate a home in Layton where Jeremy Bailey, 34, killed his wife and in-laws before being taken into custody on Friday, May 19, 2023. Bailey was sentenced in December to three life-sentences in prison after he pleaded guilty to the murders.

A 34-year-old Layton man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing his wife and in-laws in May.

Jeremy Bailey called 911 on May 19 to tell dispatchers that he had killed his wife, Anastasia Stevens, 36; Anastasia’s stepmother, Becky Stevens, 61; and Anastasia’s father, Donald Stevens, 73; according to a probable cause statement. Police found three of the family’s dogs were also fatally shot.

Bailey was charged May 25 with three counts of aggravated murder enhanced by domestic violence — which is a capital offense punishable by death — along with two counts of discharging of a firearm with serious bodily injury and three counts of torture of a companion animal.

Court filings initially indicated that prosecutors were weighing whether to pursue the death penalty in Bailey’s case.

The death penalty is legal in Utah, and while it is often threatened in aggravated murder cases, it is rarely carried out. Cases more often resolve with a plea deal that takes the possibility of execution off the table.

That’s what happened in this case.

Bailey pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder in October, and was sentenced Dec. 13 to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. The remaining charges were dismissed with prejudice, according to the plea agreement.

The last execution in Utah was carried out in 2010, when Ronnie Lee Gardner was killed by firing squad for the 1984 murder of attorney Michael Burdell during Gardner’s failed escape attempt from a Salt Lake City courthouse.

Editor’s note • Those who are experiencing intimate partner violence, or know someone who is, are urged to call the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line, 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or Utah’s 24-hour Sexual Violence Help Line at 801-736-4356 (English) or 801-924-0860 (Spanish).