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Police ID couple killed, court records show tumultuous relationship

Published July 23, 2013 6:45 pm

Investigation • Police say deaths were likely murder-suicide.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A week before Debra Eatchel was gunned down in a quiet Salt Lake City neighborhood by her ex-husband, she had him served with papers ordering him to pay her nearly $97,000 — part of an ongoing court battle stemming from the couple's 2010 divorce.

The sum was part of the 53-year-old woman's divorce settlement, which her ex-husband, 51-year-old Calvin Eatchel, was ordered to pay.

On Tuesday, Salt Lake City police were still trying to determine what caused Calvin Eatchel to shoot his wife to death outside of his home in the 1600 West block of Eisenhower Way (about 225 South) and then turn the gun on himself Monday afternoon.

Salt Lake City police Det. Cody Lougy said detectives were treating the death as an apparent murder-suicide and officers were still trying to determine a motive.

When police arrived, they found Debra Eatchel dead of a gunshot wound in the driver's seat of a car that was half on a driveway and half on a nearby lawn.

Calvin Eatchel was lying dead of a gunshot wound in the middle of the street about 50 feet away, police said.

"We don't know at that point what took place [to cause Calvin Eatchel to shoot his ex-wife]," Lougy said.

The Eatchel family on Monday night declined to comment and asked for privacy. Court records show the couple had three children, now ages 21, 17 and 13.

Utah court records also show the couple has had a tumultuous relationship over the years.

In 2008, Debra Eatchel pleaded guilty to simple assault, a class B misdemeanor in a Salt Lake City justice court in connection with an April 2005 incident. In exchange for her plea, five charges class B misdemeanor charges of committing domestic violence in the presence of a child were dismissed.

Just days after that 2005 incident, Calvin Eatchel filed for a protective order from his then-wife.

In 2007, Calvin Eatchel pleaded no contest in a Salt Lake City justice court to committing domestic violence in the presence of children, an infraction, during an April incident. In return for his plea, class B misdemeanor charges of child abuse injury and simple assault were dismissed.

After that incident, Debra Eatchel filed for a protective order. In December 2010, she filed for divorce.

Debra Eatchel was awarded $97,739.99 in the divorce settlement, but had recently sued her ex-husband for non-payment, court records show.

On July 15, 2013 — one week prior to the shooting — Debra Eatchel hired an attorney to represent her in 3rd District Court and her ex-husband was served with paperwork signed by a judge. That paperwork stated that Calvin Eatchel had defaulted on the entire judgment. A district court judge ordered him to appear in court Aug. 8 with financial information.

The paperwork warned him that he could he held in contempt of court, for failing to comply.

Tribune reporters Bob Mims and Erin Alberty contributed to this story.


Twitter: @sltribjanelle






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