OREM — A man accused of killing his girlfriend and then fleeing to the state of Washington is finally back in Utah to face murder charges after turning himself into police.
Steven Gray arrived at the Utah County jail on Saturday and Wednesday afternoon in court a judge informed him he is charged with aggravated murder in the death of his girlfriend Jennifer Brackenbury. Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.
By all accounts it was a gruesome scene: a woman was stabbed repeatedly and her body was not found for days until Orem police got a tip from authorities in Yakima, Washington.
Gray, 43, went to police there to confess his girlfriend in Utah was dead.
"With murder cases you don't necessarily know right off the bat what kind of aggravating circumstances you have that would support the death penalty. In this particular case those were very evident right from the start."
"With murder cases you don't necessarily know right off the bat what kind of aggravating circumstances you have that would support the death penalty," said Utah County deputy attorney Julia Thomas. "In this particular case those were very evident right from the start."
Gray is accused of killing his live-in girlfriend, 44-year-old Brackenbury. He faces several charges in addition to the murder. Her death left her neighbors in shock.
"The desecration of the body, the multiple stab wounds we charged as being a torturous event and the object rape that occurred with this victim," Thomas said.
Prosecutor even filed the rare charge of mayhem, alleging Gray inflicted terrible pain before she died.
"It involves cutting off a body part and that may have happened before death," Thomas said.
It is a very troubling case and prosecutors are still unsure of a motive. The judge appointed Gray a public defender and they declined to comment. He will be back in court on Jan. 30.