CRIME

A Salt Lake City man is charged with aggravated murder in a cold case

Jan 18, 2019, 6:33 PM
Judi Rinker, mother of Levi Joseph Collins, who has been missing since 2014, talks about her son du...
Judi Rinker, mother of Levi Joseph Collins, who has been missing since 2014, talks about her son during a news conference where the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office and the SLCPD announced that they have arrested and filed charges against Richard Christopher for the disappearance of Collins, Danny Kiko Gallegos and Braden Parker Emerson. The announcement was made at the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Building in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Three men went missing four years ago. The crime remained a cold case until now. On Friday, the district attorney for Salt Lake County filed formal charges against a Salt Lake City man.

Richard Christopher, 53, is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, a first degree felony. He is accused  in the deaths of Braden Emerson, 23, Levi Collins, 34 and Danny Gallegos, 35.

On the day the three men disappeared four years ago, Gallegos was seen going to a jewelry store owned by Christopher and his son, Justin.

Gallegos was in possession of $200,000 in cash, intended for the purchase of a house.

That day, the three men planned to spend an afternoon riding an ATV.

A main piece of evidence for four years was an abandoned Chevy Tahoe where detectives found a large amount of blood and a possible bullet hole. The vehicle was discovered when a nearby business owner heard a dog barking from inside the abandoned vehicle.

DNA testing showed that the blood belonged to Collins and Emerson.

According to the district attorney the bodies were burned in a crematorium in Utah County. At a later time, the bodies were burned again at a campsite in Davis County where police found small human bones and some possessions.

Christopher is being held on a $3 million bail in the Salt Lake County jail.

 

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A Salt Lake City man is charged with aggravated murder in a cold case