SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A Layton man pleaded guilty Thursday to murdering his wife and in-laws this past May.
Jeremy Bailey, 34, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of his wife, 36-year-old Anastasia Stevens, her stepmother, 61-year-old Becky Stevens, and her father, 73-year-old Donald Stevens, court documents filed in Davis County show.
While aggravated murder is punishable by death in Utah, the maximum punishment listed in Bailey’s plea was three mandatory terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
This stands in contrast to what Bailey allegedly told police in the hours after the May 19 killings, in which Bailey also shot and killed three of the family’s four dogs.
According to the initial charging documents, Bailey had allegedly told police he would prefer the death penalty than to spend the rest of his life in prison. He asked officers if death by firing squad was still an active punishment.
The triple murder happened in Bailey’s home on the 1800 block of Gentile Street. Bailey had called 911, telling dispatchers he shot his relatives that morning.
Writing in his plea, Bailey admitted to going into his bedroom and shooting his wife twice. He noted that his in-laws were in the rooms nearby, and he immediately shot them after killing his wife. The gun he used belonged to one of the victims.
At some point after the shooting, Bailey posted on his wife’s Facebook page, writing that he had “just killed everyone” and listed his address. He described what he did as a “massacre.”
Per the initial charging documents, one of the victims had sent a message to a therapist that morning, saying that they had a “very real problem” that might require “legal interference.” The victim added they could not talk further because Bailey was in the house.
While Bailey was still in the house and in custody after the killings, police reported that they overheard him say “I can’t believe I did,” in an excited way.
Support for victims and survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence is available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465). If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 911 immediately.