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Man Accused Of Murdering Mackenzie Lueck Makes First Court Appearance

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –  The man accused of killing University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck appeared in court for his initial appearance before a judge.

Ayoola Ajayi, age 31 appeared remotely via video at the Matheson Courthouse in Third District Court Monday during the proceeding, and did not make a plea. He was assigned representation by the Salt Lake Legal Defenders.

It has been just over two weeks since officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department too Ajayi into custody, captured exclusively by KSL TV cameras.

Since then, Lueck’s body was discovered in Logan Canyon by detectives. According to charging documents, her arms were bound behind her with zip ties and rope.

He’s facing felony charges in connection to Lueck’s murder.

Last Wednesday, felony charges were filed against Ajayi for criminal homicide/aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and the abuse or desecration of a human body in connection to the murder of Lueck.

Lueck went missing during the early morning hours on Monday, June 17. According to police, the 23-year-old made contact with Ajayi moments before her phone stopped transmitting.

After court, her friends talked to the media about how they felt, seeing Ajayi for the first time.

“We just immediately lost our breath. We were holding hands, and just – I refuse to say this person’s name. This is probably the last time I’ll give him any sort of attention,” said Ashley Fine, Mackenzie’s friend.

“When I saw him I just felt really angry, and I felt really sad at the same time,” said Kennedy Stoner, another friend.

If convicted of aggravated murder, Ajayi may be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison without parole.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said at a previous press conference that it was too early in the investigation and prosecution to determine if his office would seek the death penalty.

His scheduling conference is July 29 at 2pm at Matheson Courthouse.