By EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News
(SALT LAKE CITY) — A Utah man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the killing of University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck.
Ayoola Ajayi addressed the court to offer an apology for Lueck’s June 2019 slaying. The victim and her killer met on a “sugar daddy” dating website, according to Ajayi’s lawyer.
“I’m sorry for what I did,” Ajayi said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “I know this won’t bring her back.”
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told ABC News after court, “I’m glad that he said that he was sorry. Do I believe that he was sorry? No, I don’t.”
Gill called Ajayi a “manipulator,” who was “cold and calculated enough to not see the humanity and dignity of the person in front of him.”
Lueck’s parents also spoke in court, reflecting on how Lueck, a 23-year-old kinesiology major, was about to graduate from college with her whole life ahead of her. But now they’ll never see her get married or have children, the Tribune reported.
Gill called the Lueck family “incredibly good people who had a terrible, heinous reality thrust upon their lives.”
“All we can hope is to give them an opportunity to move forward … with the knowledge that this person will never ever see freedom again,” Gill said.
In June 2019, after connecting on the dating website, Lueck and Ajayi met up at a park. They then went to Ajayi’s Salt Lake City home where he killed her and buried her in his yard, Ajayi’s lawyer Neal Hamilton has said, according to The Associated Press.
After police came to question Ajayi, he moved her body to Logan Canyon, over 80 miles north of Salt Lake City.
In July 2019, Lueck’s charred remains were found in a shallow grave in Logan Canyon. Her arms were bound behind her back by a zip tie and rope, prosecutors said.
There was no motive, according to the district attorney.
“Some people have a profit motive, anger or whatever. There isn’t one here other than murder for murder’s sake,” Gill said.
Earlier this month, Ajayi pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and desecration of a human body. As part of the plea agreement, he’ll spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said. Ajayi also pleaded guilty to forcible sex abuse in a separate case, prosecutors said.
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