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PAYSON — A couple faces murder charges after police say they shot and killed a man they were trying to rob so they could have Christmas cash.
On Nov. 23, Jeff Vern Jensen, 28, of Payson, with shot and killed in a vacant Flying J parking lot in Payson. Stephan Sutton, 26, and Chaelisa Nielsen, 20, had been planning to rob Jensen for about a week, according to charges filed Monday in 4th District Court, "so they could have money for the holidays and to buy a ring for Nielsen."
They arranged a drug deal with Jensen, the charges state. When they met in the vacant parking lot, police say Sutton shot Jensen in the chest at the encouragement of Nielsen.
Shortly after the shooting, a deputy spotted Sutton's pickup truck and attempted to pull him over on a routine traffic stop. Sutton fled, leading police on a short chase.
The car chase ended when Sutton got out of his vehicle and ran. Officers surrounded Sutton, who "began asking the officers to just shoot him," court documents state. Instead, a Taser was used and Sutton was handcuffed.
Investigators reported finding "a wad of bloody money and two knives" in his pockets. He told the arrested officers that he wanted to speak to his girlfriend who was still in the truck. But when officers investigated, Nielsen was gone.
As Sutton was being checked by paramedics, he ran off again. A paramedic and an officer tackled Sutton and arrested him again, police said. He was placed in a patrol car with his hands handcuffed behind his back but ran off yet again before being caught several blocks later, the charges state.
After he was taken into custody again, Sutton said, "It was self-defense, I had to do what I had to do, he came at me," according to court records. Nielsen was later found by investigators back in Sutton's garage, hiding. She reportedly had called someone to get a ride home while police were focused on finding Sutton.
Sutton and Nielsen were charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; conspiracy to commit murder, a second-degree felony; conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, a second-degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; escape, a third-degree felony; and two misdemeanors.