On June 17, 2019, University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck was last seen alive, getting into a Lyft after her flight from California landed at the Salt Lake City airport. She was dropped off at a park where she got into another vehicle with an individual later identified as Ayoola Ajayi. The 23-year-old woman, described by her mother as a “true spitfire,” had met tech worker Ajayi on a dating website.
As the search for Lueck continued, authorities questioned Ajayi who eventually admitted through his lawyer to planning and executing her murder. He said he tied her hands behind her back at his home and choked her. When she resisted, he began strangling her with a belt until she stopped moving, the Salt Lake Tribune wrote.
Ajayi then burned her body in his backyard and later moved the remains to Logan Canyon as authorities began questioning him, the outlet wrote. On June 28, he was arrested and charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and desecration of a body, KUTV reported.
Where is Ayoola Ajayi today?
Ajayi Was Sentenced to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole & Is Serving His Sentence in Utah State Prison
Ajayi, 32, pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated murder and third-degree desecration of a human body as part of a plea deal that would see the death penalty taken off the table. Ajayi, through his defense attorney Neal Hamilton, admitted that he’d planned to kill Lueck before he met her and confessed to strangling her at his home and burning her body in his yard, KSL reported.
He also said that after detectives began investigating his involvement, he buried her remains at a canyon in northern Utah. After his arrest, Ajayi told authorities where to find Lueck’s body. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, citing authorities, Lueck died from blunt force trauma to the head. His attorney said Ajayi planned the murder and “turned off the video of his home security system before leaving to meet Ms. Lueck.”
In October 2020, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and is currently serving his sentence at the Oquirrh facility of the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, south of Salt Lake City, public records show. During his sentencing, Ajayi said, “I’m sorry for what I did. I know this won’t bring her back.”
Ajayi Was Also Charged With Several Other Offenses, Including Accusations of Sexual Assault of Another Woman
In addition to the murder charge, Ajayi also faced several other charges, including charges of kidnapping and sexual assault involving another woman. According to prosecutors, he assaulted a woman that he met on a dating app in 2018 while he was still attending Utah State University, court documents show. He pleaded guilty to forcible sexual abuse in that case, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
He was also charged with possession of pornographic images of children on his computer, KUTV reported, but it was dismissed as part of the plea deal.
The judge sentenced him to one to 15 years in prison which will run consecutively to his other sentence. Because he was sentenced to life in prison, it is a symbolic decision, the judge said, to address the loss suffered by Lueck’s family and the ordeal and pain caused to the other woman.