SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Ayoola Ajayi, the man responsible for MacKenzie Lueck’s murder, was sentenced Friday.
Judge Vernice Trease sentenced Ajayi, Friday, to life in prison without parole for the murder of MacKenzie Lueck. Ajayi was also sentenced up to five years in prison for abuse of a body, and up to 15 years for forcible sex abuse.
Ajayi, pleaded guilty to Lueck’s murder back on Oct. 7.
Lueck was a University of Utah student who police say was last seen getting into Ajayi’s car in June 2019 shortly before her death. Her body was found with her arms bound behind her in a canyon 85 miles from Ajayi’s home in Salt Lake City. Authorities say Lueck died from blunt force trauma to the head.
During the sentencing, several of Lueck’s relatives spoke calling her disappearance and death the “worst day of my life” and saying it “haunts me daily”. Other family members described their feelings as “a nightmare you can’t wake up from”.
Lueck’s mother and father also spoke during the sentencing calling MacKenzie a “loving and caring” daughter, friend, and sister. Lueck’s father took time to reminded Ajayi that he won’t be able to hug his daughter anymore or tell her how proud of her he was. He also thanked Utahns for all the help, support, and kind words towards his family during the past year.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill released a statement back on October 7 regarding Ajayi’s guilty plea:
Today Ayoola Ajayi entered a plea of guilty for Aggravated Murder, and Desecration of a Human Body surrounding the tragic death of Mackenzie Lueck. Ayoola Ajayi also pled guilty to Forcible Sex Abuse in a separate case. Part of the Plea Agreement is that Ayoola Ajayi will spend his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
I want to thank the prosecutors, investigators, and police officers that helped resolve this matter. The entry of the pleas today starts the process of bringing some closure and a measure of justice to the Lueck family.
Ajayi also previously pleaded not guilty to 19 unrelated counts filed after investigators say they discovered child pornography on his computer. The images of children as young as 4-years-old were allegedly found during the investigation into Lueck’s death, but have not been linked to her death.