Utah man in custody after allegedly throwing fatal punch


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A Utah man is expected to face a homicide charge after allegedly punching a man, who then died due to blunt force injury to the head, police say.

According to court documents, on May 17, 46-year-old Juan Ayala was taken into custody after allegedly punching a man to death.

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Officers say the incident started after an argument was instigated at a homeless encampment in the area of 235 South Rio Grande Street. Police say, during the argument, Ayala approached the victim and then punched him in the face.

According to the Salt Lake City Police Department, following the punch, the victim fell to the ground and lost consciousness. Ayala then fled the area.

As crews and officers arrived at the homeless encampment, the victim was immediately transported to an area hospital for emergency care. Officers say the victim died a couple of days later on May 21.

Court documents tell ABC4, that the Medical Examiner determined the victim’s manner of death to be “homicide due to blunt force injury to the head.”

Arresting documents say on the evening of May 28, Ayala was located and interviewed. Post-Miranda, Ayala admitted to being involved in the altercation and striking the victim before fleeing the area.

According to SLCPD, Ayala also claimed he struck the victim in self-defense due to possible threats the victim was making toward him, and Ayala did not intend for the victim to die.

As of May 28, 46-year-old Juan Ayala has been charged with criminal homicide by assault, a third-degree felony, a court affidavit reads. 

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