WEST VALLEY CITY — A West Valley man was charged Tuesday with murdering his girlfriend in front of her 5-year-old son.
Darren Fitzgerald Byrd, 50, is charged with murder, a first-degree felony; obstructing justice, a second-degree felony; committing domestic violence in front of a child, a third-degree felony; and possession of a weapon by a restricted person, a class A misdemeanor.
On Feb. 9, a 12-year-old boy called 911 saying that a woman was lying down "covered by blood" in a trailer home at 3292 W. Chester Park Drive. Belinda Thomas had suffered multiple stab wounds to her neck and chest, according to charging documents.
The boy, a neighbor, had gone to Thomas' trailer to invite her over to a birthday party. He spotted Byrd on his way over standing by the back of a car. He told the boy he "had been in a fight with Belinda and the police were coming," the charges state.
When the boy went to Thomas' trailer, her 5-year-old son answered the door. The older boy asked if his mother was home.
"Yes, I think she is dead," the 5-year-old said, according to the charges.
The older boy then picked up the toddler and took him back to his home.
The 5-year-old boy later told police that Byrd "climbed on his mom, poked his mom with a knife, and killed his mom," the charges state.
He also told police that Byrd "chased him around the house" and told him he was going to kill him, too, but the boy was able to hide in the house, according to a police affidavit.
Byrd was found by police later that night sleeping in Thomas' car near 5400 West and 2350 South.
A neighbor told police that Thomas had lived in the trailer for about eight months, and that Byrd had moved in about two months earlier, the charges state.
Earlier in the day, Byrd had talked to his former employer on the phone and told him that he'd had a fight with his girlfriend and that he should "just take me to jail," according to the charges.
Byrd was convicted of three counts of forgery in 1995, two counts of attempted illegal use of a bank card in 1993, and another forgery charge in a separate case in 1993, according to court records.
The 5-year-old boy was taken into state protective custody.
Domestic violence resources
- Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: udvc.org.
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting: