UPDATE: (5/5/19) A man charged with the beating death of his estranged wife and attacking his teen daughter has pleaded guilty.
According to court documents, Walter Eugene Brantzeg accepted a plea deal on Thursday that would spare him the death penalty.
The man admitted to murdering his wife, Valerie Sue Brantzeg, over a custody battle over the couple’s 13-year-old daughter.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 20.
MILLCREEK (News4Utah)- The man accused of bludgeoning his wife to death and attacking his teen daughter has now been charged.
Walter Brantzeg, 54 was charged in 3rd District Court Friday with one count of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, and aggravated cruelty to an animal.
“We’re here to talk about one of the most horrific domestic violence cases I’ve seen,” said Sheriff Rosie Rivera, during a news conference to announce the charges.
The incident happened on August 22nd around 7 a.m.
According to charging documents, that morning Brantzeg barged in and began hitting his estranged wife Valerie Sue Brantzeg and their 13-year-old daughter with a crowbar.
Melody Gray, a spokesperson for Unified Police Department said after the attack, Brantzeg fled. His wife managed to get out of the apartment seeking help but she later died.
The teen victim suffered a skull fracture from “massive blows” to her head, court docs said. She remains in the hospital.
On the day of the attack, police say Brantzeg was arrested when he began making cell phone calls to members of the media.
“He told them that he had kicked in the door and got in there and he beat his wife with a crowbar,” Gray said.
Charging documents claim Brantzeg said Valerie was “turning [their daughter] against him”.
On July 31st Valeria had filed a temporary separation order. On August 16th, Valerie texted Brantzeg that she “planned to obtain sole custody” of their daughter, charging documents state.
Court papers claim the teen was being sexually molested by Brantzeg.
“It is active (and) it is under investigation and detectives are working that case diligently,” said Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill. “I would not to comment beyond that.”
The teen told police when Brantzeg barged into the apartment the morning of the attack he said “If you want to be with your mom so bad, be with her,” documents state.
Valerie and Brantzeg also had an older daughter. She has been granted a temporary protective order against her father. According to court records, next week there is a court hearing scheduled for a permanent protective order.
“Valerie did not deserve the treatment that she had,” said her sister Jeanne Long. “She was a good person. She did everything she could for her children.”
She said Walter Brantzeg was a controlling man and any attempts to get Valerie away from him were futile. Jeanne Long said he always found a way to get her back.
“Those two young ladies lost their mother in a horrific way,” said Long. Their life has been changed forever. Valerie was a victim of domestic abuse. But those girls are going to be survivors. They not victims. They will be survivors.”
A fund has been set up at Mountain America Credit Union under the name of “Valerie Brantzeg” on behalf of her daughters.
If you or someone you know is in a dangerous, domestic situation there is free and confidential help. Support for victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence is available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or at udvc.org. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.