A man accused of fatally stabbing his grandmother made his first appearance on murder charges Tuesday in 3rd District Court, where a judge scheduled his next hearing for Nov. 19.
Zachary Cole Weston, 21, faces a charge of aggravated murder a crime that carries the possibility of death in the slaying of his grandmother earlier this month. Joyce Dexter, 84, was found dead in her Avenues home on Oct. 3. She had been stabbed 111 times and some of her organs had been removed.
Dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, Weston spoke clearly and calmly to the judge and his appointed public defender, Denise Porter. He did not say much beyond verifying his identity and date of birth, and inquiring how to sign a document with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Weston's family has said he was previously treated for schizophrenia. His aunt, Jil Kulander, told The Tribune that Weston told his mother six months ago that he was hearing voices.
Prior to the alleged murder, he had been arrested more than once for assault. Weston was charged in October 2010 with misdemeanors after he allegedly shoved his mother and punched two police officers as they tried to remove him from a 7-Eleven where he had been loitering.
In August, he allegedly punched one University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) employee in the face, and another in the ears.
In September he swallowed a rock and poured scalding water down his throat, after which he was admitted as a "psych patient" at LDS Hospital. There, he jumped through a window into a nurses station and injured two employees trying to restrain him, according to a police report.
Later that month, Weston was arrested again for allegedly hitting his father, Walter Weston, and biting a woman who was in his Millcreek area home. He was subsequently charged with misdemeanor assault.
Zachary Weston was released from jail, where he had been held after the assault on his father, the night before Dexter was killed, jail documents indicate. His father said he went to stay with his grandmother in the Avenues after Weston's mother bailed him out.