KSL INVESTIGATES

Expert theorizes Ayoola Ajayi was becoming a serial killer

Oct 7, 2020, 10:18 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 3:13 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The KSL Investigators sat down with a retired FBI special agent who said he believes the man who pleaded guilty to the murder of University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck was on his way to becoming a career killer.

Mackenzie Lueck got into a car with Ayoola Ajayi in the early morning hours of June 17, 2019. The 23-year-old student was not heard from again.

As part of a plea agreement, Ajayi pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and abuse or desecration of a human body. Aggravated kidnapping and obstruction charges were dropped, and he was able to escape the threat of the death penalty.

Ajayi also pleaded guilty to forcible sex abuse in a separate case.

The now 32-year-old showed little emotion during Wednesday’s hearing as new, disturbing details were revealed about Mackenzie’s murder.

More than a year after her brutal murder, Ajayi’s defense attorney confirmed what KSL Investigators revealed from the very beginning.

“Ayoola Ajayi and Mackenzie Lueck met in 2018 on the website ‘seeking arrangements,’” said attorney Neal Hamilton. “Mr. Ajayi had decided that he would murder Ms. Lueck before the meeting took place.”

The KSL Investigators sat down with former FBI Special Agent Greg Rogers, who’s now a professor of criminal justice at Utah Valley University.

“I think he had… he had a type that he was attracted to,” said Rogers. “I teach about serial killers that, unfortunately, learn their trade and get very good at it. This guy was… he was a very, very dangerous individual in the making.”

Rogers said Ajayi’s online persona was suspect, and also pointed to things the man did that police were able to discover and track.

“He certainly wasn’t a pro at this. The crime scene was handled so poorly, and the way he tried to hide evidence was done so badly,” said Rogers.

In December 2019, Ajayi was ordered to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted another woman he met on a dating app for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more than a year before Lueck’s death.

Rogers said he believes Ajayi was likely “learning his trade.”

“He had already showed… a strong interest in preying on young women,” he said. “I think he was a burgeoning, very dangerous, possibly going to be a serial killer.”

With the death penalty taken off the table, Ajayi will spend the rest of his life behind bars with no possibility for parole.

“This brings it to an end. This guy is going to die in a prison. They’re going to bring him out in a box, and that’s the end of it,” said Rogers.

“This is a case that riveted our community,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

He said the plea this agreement is about resolution and accountability.

“Hopefully with the change of plea today, we can start to collectively, as a community, also put this incredible tragedy behind us,” said Gill.

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Expert theorizes Ayoola Ajayi was becoming a serial killer