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PROVO -- Criminal charges have been filed against the Provo man accused of killing his aunt, but those charges are less serious than what Damien Candland was booked into jail on.
Prosecutors opted for first-degree murder instead of aggravated murder charges and, for now, are not filing rape charges against him.
They are not ruling out the more serious charges as the investigation is completed.
The case began on Sunday, Feb. 21, when a woman's body was found near Jolley's Ranch in Hobble Creek Canyon. Her body was bound with duct tape and she had been beaten severely.
The murder was later discovered to have actually occurred inside a home in Provo, where 41-year-old Amy Candland and her 22-year-old nephew Damien both lived.
Police believe a dispute led Damien Candland to severely beat his aunt to death, then leave her body in the canyon.
A preliminary report from the state medical examiner revealed Amy Candland had suffered serious head injuries from being beaten and ultimately died from strangulation. The report also showed that she had been raped.
Prosecutors said Tuesday afternoon that after reviewing all of the evidence they currently have, they have decided to file charges of first-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutor Julia Thomas said, "There's still potentially other charges that are out there that may be amended as the investigation continues. There's still more information we're looking for answers on, and so it may all change in the future."
During a brief court hearing, Candland was appointed a public defender to represent him.
He remains in the Utah County Jail, where his bail has been set at $1 million.
Damien Candland will return to court April 1. If any additional charges are filed against him, it will likely happen then.