A Layton man, concerned for himself, gave his guns to a friend days before he reported killing his wife and in-laws

The man later recalled that one of the victims possessed a firearm, which he was armed with Friday morning, he told dispatchers.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Officers are investigating a home in Layton where police say a man killed three people on Friday, May 19, 2023 before being taken into custody.

A 34-year-old Layton man who confessed to killing his wife and in-laws had given his guns to a friend before the shooting because “he was thinking about doing this a few days ago,” he told dispatchers on Friday.

However, during the 9:45 a.m. call, the suspect also told dispatchers that he forgot a gun that belonged to one of the victims — and that it was the gun he was armed with, according to an am probable cause statement filed Friday night.

He left just after 9 a.m. and bought a case of ammunition, according to CCTV recorded by police.

The man called from his home on the 1800 block of Gentile Ave at about 9:45 a.m. called 911 to report the killings, police said. He told dispatchers he had killed his wife Anastasia Stevens, 36; Anastasia’s stepmother, Becky Stevens, 61; and Anastasia’s father, Donald Stevens, 73, about 20 minutes earlier, according to the probable cause statement.

The man also killed three of the family’s four dogs, police said. According to the statement, the killings occurred after a “domestic violence incident” between the man and Anastasia.

One of the victims had contacted a therapist earlier in the day because they were concerned about a “very real problem,” the statement said. Authorities did not specify when that message was sent on Friday or which victim sent it.

“So I discovered Megan [sic] “A lot of his shady stuff,” the victim said to the therapist. “And it’s really bad. How scary. I think it might be time to take legal action. I know I really need to find a lawyer and he’s still at the house so I can’t talk.”

The man told Layton dispatchers that his firearms had been stored in a friend’s garage because “he had thought about doing this a few days ago,” the probable cause statement said. Investigators confirmed that around May 17, the friend took possession of the man’s firearms.

The man initially told dispatchers that it was a case of “suicide.” A post on Anastasia Stevens’ Facebook profile, posted at the same time he contacted the dispatcher, said “suicide massacre” and that the man “JUST KILLED ALL Becky Stevens, Don Stevens AND 3 OF THE 4 DOGS” have, along with the address of the house. The police did not say whether the man wrote the Facebook post.

While the man was being held in a holding cell, police said he was “excited” and said, “I can’t believe I did it.” He requested that his surviving dog not be placed in a shelter, and asked investigators too whether the death penalty and firing squad would still be used in the state of Utah. The man said he would rather have the death penalty than a life sentence, the probable cause statement said.

The man was admitted to the Davis County Jail at 6:30 p.m. Friday on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of firing a gun and three counts of aggravated animal cruelty. According to court documents, he is being held without bail.

Justin Scaccy

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