This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Craig Roger Gregerson allegedly had been planning to abduct 5-year-old Destiny Norton "for some time" before he lured the girl to his Salt Lake City home on July 16 and suffocated her, according to a request for a search warrant made public Monday after it was filed in 3rd District Court.
In fact, Gregerson had "made written plans" to abduct his young neighbor, the affidavit alleges. But Gregerson allegedly saw his opportunity to grab the girl as his dog started barking.
The girl had gone alone into her backyard to play at about 8 p.m. on July 16. Alerted by his dog, Gregerson looked out his window and saw the girl in the adjacent yard, the affidavit states.
Gregerson - who was charged last week with capital murder and child kidnapping - went into his backyard, opened the gate and lured Destiny through the back door into his residence, the affidavit states.
When Destiny "panicked and began to scream," Gregerson "put his hand over her mouth and began to squeeze to silence her screams," the affidavit states.
The girl went limp, and Gregerson laid her on the floor, according to the affidavit.
About two minutes later, Gregerson's mother telephoned to ask him to pick up his own child, a 1-year-old girl, from his estranged wife's apartment, the affidavit states. After the call, Gregerson took Destiny's body to the basement of his residence, it said.
When Gregerson later returned to the basement, he found Destiny's body was "cold to his touch," the affidavit said.
Charging documents allege that at some point Gregerson "engaged in sexual activity" with the girl's body.
That act of desecration was one of two factors that prosecutors relied upon to elevate the homicide charge to a capital crime.
The other so-called aggravating factor was child kidnapping.
At some point, Gregerson allegedly put the girl's body into a large plastic storage container in his basement.
With Gregerson's permission, police and federal agents had been inside his apartment, but missed the girl's body because of the way it was concealed in the cramped, cluttered basement.
On Saturday, July 22, Gregerson agreed to voluntarily submit to a polygraph examination on Monday, July 24, at the local office of the FBI.
The next day, July 23, Gregerson "attempted to mask the odor coming from the body with cleaning products," according to the search warrant affidavit.
On July 24, an FBI agent arrived at Gregerson's home at about 1:30 p.m. and noticed a white Tyvek suit - a disposable coverall - hanging on a wall, according to the affidavit.
After taking the lie detector test, Gregerson allegedly made numerous verbal statements to investigators.
He also provided a signed statement "confessing his involvement" in the abduction and murder of Destiny, according to the affidavit.
That night, after obtaining a judge's approval of their search warrant request, investigators went to Gregerson's home at 518 E. Elwood Place (715 South), and found Destiny's body at about 8:30 p.m.
Police also searched Gregerson's home for a "long grayish colored shirt," which Gregerson allegedly had described Destiny wearing the night she was killed.
In addition, police looked for cleaning products, any clothing recently worn by Gregerson and any documents related to planning an abduction or murder.
The search warrant return, filed by police after a search, lists 27 items that were seized, but gives no clue to their significance.
Among the items seized were the Tyvek suit seen by the FBI agent, clothing, bedding, couch cushions, VHS cassettes, letters, a black Bible apparently bearing Gregerson's name, and two cameras.
Also listed is a "B & G striped T-shirt" found inside a box, which was found inside a 50-pound bag of dog food. When Destiny disappeared, police said she was wearing a black T-shirt with gray stripes.
Asked about the items, lead prosecutor Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Robert Stott, said: "I just can't comment."
A Salt Lake City police department spokesman did not return a phone call.
Gregerson, 20, was charged on July 27. During a July 28 court appearance, Gregerson was present in court for the first time, and a judge appointed a team of public defenders for him.
A scheduling hearing is set for Aug. 7 before Judge Judith Atherton.
If convicted of the capital murder charge, Gregerson could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have not said if they will seek lethal injection.
Highlights of the affidavit:
Craig Roger Gregerson allegedly planned Destiny Norton's abduction "for some time," according to documents filed Monday in 3rd District Court. But on the night she disappeared, it was Gregerson's barking dog that drew his attention to the fact that the girl was alone in her adjacent yard.
Two minutes after Gregerson allegedly smothered Destiny and laid her body on the floor of his home, his mother telephoned and asked him to pick up his own 1-year-old daughter from the home of his estranged wife, according to court documents.
Gregerson agreed Saturday, July 22, to voluntarily submit to a polygraph examination on Monday, July 24, at local FBI offices. On Sunday, July 23, Gregerson "attempted to mask the odor coming from [Destiny's] body with cleaning products," according to court documents.