LEHI, Utah (ABC4) — A Lehi man who was arrested on Friday for the first-degree murder of his wife has been pronounced dead while in police custody, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
Ronald J. Morgan, 85, was arrested on Oct. 6 for aggravated murder (first-degree felony).
Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Utah County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC4 that Morgan experienced “medical problems” Saturday while in jail.
A deputy reportedly called for a nurse, who then called an ambulance. Morgan was taken to the Utah Valley Hospital where he later died.
Cannon said they are treating this incident as an “in-custody death,” and that while Morgan was at the hospital when he died, he was still considered in police custody.
On Oct. 6, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office received reports of a woman covered in blood. Officers arrived at the scene and found the victim’s husband, identified as Morgan, also covered in blood. Morgan “had made the utterance that he had killed her,” according to the affidavit.
The victim was reportedly found dead in her bathroom, appearing to have suffered multiple traumatic injuries.
Morgan needed to be transported to the hospital to get his injuries treated and as he entered the ambulance to go, police said he saw the victim’s family gathered outside. He yelled to them, stating he killed her, the affidavit states.
While at the hospital, Morgan reportedly made multiple comments about how exhausted he was, because “what he had done wasn’t as easy as shooting her,” the affidavit states.
After Morgan was treated and released from the hospital, police said he was transported to the Lehi Police Department to be interviewed.
During the interview, Morgan explained to police that he had been frustrated for several months and that his frustration “had been building and building until he just lost it.”
When asked what he meant by “lost it,” Morgan smirked and told police that he killed her, the affidavit states.
Morgan described to officers his process of strangling the victim, releasing her, punching her, slapping her, and stomping on her, before returning to strangling. He said he did this until he thought she was dead, the affidavit states.
He also described grabbing multiple items — like a box with metal on the edges, shoes, and a wooden box — to bludgeon the victim’s head. Morgan said he broke the wooden box in the process, so he used the lid and the bottom of the box separately.
Morgan was booked into the Utah County Jail on the aforementioned charges before his death Saturday night.