Fugitive accused of Uintah County murder pleads not guilty

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A rape suspect who is also accused of murdering a Roosevelt man and taking off to Arizona in the victim's car pleaded not guilty to first-degree felony murder Tuesday morning.

Jesse Anthony Saenz, 23, is charged with the murder of Elvis Zachary Olsen, along with counts of theft and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, which are second-degree felonies.

On Tuesday, Saenz appeared in Vernal's 8th District Court and entered not guilty pleas to all three charges. A trial date was not set Tuesday, but Saenz is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 10 for a pretrial conference.

Olsen, 22, was found shot to death on April 21 near Fort Duchesne on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Olsen's Mazda 3S had been stolen.

Uintah County investigators tracked Saenz to Arizona three days later, where he was allegedly found driving Olsen's car.

The Uintah County Sheriff's Office has so far been unable to establish a motive for the killing of Olsen, a convicted sex offender. Saenz has not been cooperative with investigators since his arrest.

Saenz also faces charges of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy, object rape and forcible sexual abuse — all first-degree felonies — for allegedly following a woman home from a night club in June 2012, assaulting and raping her outside of an apartment complex. That case has been delayed, and is now trailing the murder case. A status conference is scheduled for Wednesday in that case.

Saenz was out on bail at the time of Olsen's alleged murder and had an ankle monitor. He allegedly cut the ankle monitor in Roosevelt on the day of Olsen's death.


Twitter: @jm_miller