CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Police say man arrested for gym assault later confessed to Spanish Fork murder

Jul 11, 2022, 3:45 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:29 am

An "ogden city police" patch is pictured...

Ogden Police Chief Eric Young speaks during a briefing at the Francom Public Safety Building in Ogden on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News.

OGDEN, Utah — The Ogden City Police Department arrested a 28-year-old man on Saturday for allegedly assaulting and hanging another man at an apartment building’s gym. Police said the man also confessed to a Spanish Fork murder while being interviewed about the Ogden assault.

According to a probable cause statement, the OPD responded to a report of an assault at 2433 Adams Ave. in Ogden, Utah on Saturday night.

The suspect, later identified as 28-year-old Christian Taele, was detained by police at the scene.

Officers at the scene found the victim “partially hanging by the neck from a piece of gym equipment,” according to police documents. The victim, a 23-year-old man who has not yet been identified, was taken to a local hospital.

An eyewitness told police he saw the attack. The witness said Taele strangled the victim with a rope or strap, kicked the victim, and then dragged the victim into the apartment building’s gym.

Police booked Taele into the Weber County Jail on suspicion of attempted criminal homicide.

According to the probable cause statement, Taele told police he had intended to kill the 23-year-old man. The statement also said the attack was unprovoked and there was no indication that Taele and the victim had ever spoken.

While being interviewed about the Ogden gym attack, police said Taele confessed to the recent Spanish Fork murder of 49-year-old Ryan Hooley. According to the probable cause statement, Taele gave details that hadn’t been released to the public. Taele reportedly told investigators that the Ogden attack and Spanish Fork murders happened because a “higher power” told him to “purge” the city.

The probable cause statement, which was made on Sunday, said the 23-year-old was unconscious with no brain activity. It also said that the hospital was waiting on the victim’s next-of-kin to arrive to decide how to move forward.

A Facebook post by the OPD made on Monday stated that the victim was in critical condition.

The OPD’s post also said that the Ogden and Spanish Fork investigations were both active and that the two cities were coordinating their investigations.

Related: West Jordan woman shoots husband Sunday morning, police say

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Police say man arrested for gym assault later confessed to Spanish Fork murder