Man who pleaded guilty to Mackenzie Lueck’s murder sentenced to life in prison

Oct 23, 2020, 12:53 PM | Updated: 12:58 pm
missing woman mackenzie lueck...
This undated photo taken from the Facebook page #FindMackenzieLueck shows a Mackenzie Lueck, 23, a senior at the University of Utah. Police announced Friday they had made an arrest in her murder. (#FindMackenzieLueck via AP)
(#FindMackenzieLueck via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The man who pleaded guilty to the murder of Mackenzie Lueck earlier this month has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday.

Two weeks ago, Ayoola Ajayi, 32, pleaded guilty to murdering 23-year-old University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck as part of a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty. 


The case of Mackenzie Lueck

Lueck was last seen alive by a Lyft driver early in the morning of June 17, 2019, after they picked her up from the airport as she returned to Utah from attending a funeral in her home state of California. The Lyft driver told police at the time that they dropped Lueck off at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake where she met someone there and got into a vehicle with them. 

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said cell phone data traced Ajayi to Hatch Park at the same time. Gill said that Lueck had been texting with Ajayi and that her last text to him was sent at 2:58 a.m. before powering off for the last time just a minute later. Phone records then show Ajayi at his home in Salt Lake City’s Fairpark neighborhood just a few minutes later, around 3:07 a.m.

During the course of the police investigation, Ajayi’s home was searched and police found charred personal items and human “muscular tissue” that Gill said fit Lueck’s DNA profile.

Neighbors told investigators that Ajayi had been seen pouring gasoline on a fire in his backyard that the fire had a “horrible smell.”

As investigators searched the backyard Gill said they found a “freshly-dug site” wherein they discovered a piece of bone, part of a human scalp with hair, and a burned cell phone among other items and evidence.

Lueck’s body was found in July 2019, 18 days since her disappearance 80 miles away in Logan Canyon.

Gill said investigators tracked Ajayi’s phone to an area where investigators found her charred remains just of the main road in a shallow grave.

A medical examiner determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma.


Today’s Top Stories


chimney fire...
Eric Levenson, Sara Weisfeldt and Claudia Dominguez, CNN

Six dead in shooting at Fourth of July event in Highland Park, Illinois

HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois (CNN) — Six people are dead after an active shooting situation in downtown Highland Park, Illinois, in the area of a July 4th parade, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said. Police say it appears the shooter, identified as a man, was shooting from a nearby roof. The city of Highland Park, a […]
14 hours ago
People leave Field's shopping centre, after Danish police said they received reports of shooting, i...
Kim Norgaard, Pierre Meilhan and Jorge Engels, CNN

Several people killed in Copenhagen mall shooting, police say

shooting at a mall in Copenhagen has left several people dead, local police said Sunday.
2 days ago
Image from the scene of the shooting on South Major street in Salt Lake City (Photo courtesy of SLC...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: SLCPD arrest two in connection to Sunday night’s shooting

Police received multiple calls regarding shots fired near 1485 South Major Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 3, 2022. 
2 days ago
The scene of the shooting at 900 S. 200 West (Photo courtesy of Adam Sotelo)...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: Shooting on TRAX platform leaves one dead, one injured

Police responded to reports of shots fired on a TRAX platform near 900 South and 200 West at around 10 p.m. on Saturday night.
2 days ago
Herbert Cox statement Reyes election lawsuit...
Mark Jones

State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers

Three pharmaceutical retailers are facing a lawsuit from the State of Utah. The lawsuit was filed the week of July 1.
4 days ago
draper shooting police...
Mark Jones

Party ban becomes permanent for Airbnb

Airbnb announced this week that it is placing permanent ban on disruptive parties. In April, two people died in a shooting at an Airbnb in Draper.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Man who pleaded guilty to Mackenzie Lueck’s murder sentenced to life in prison