A 21-year-old man allegedly murdered his grandmother, brutally stabbing her 111 times and dismembering her slain body.
Zachary Cole Weston told police he then slit Joyce Dexter’s heart and belly, removing several of her internal organs.
The 84-year-old’s dying screams were heard by neighbours, coming from her Salt Lake City home on October 3.
Brutal: Zachary Weston allegedly killed his grandmother, Joyce Dexter (pictured), stabbing her 111 times
They dialed 911 and officers arrived to find Weston standing over Dexter’s mauled body, clutching a bloody knife, according to court records released on Friday.
He is believed to have been living with the pensioner, in her 310 J Street property.
Weston had blood on his clothing and hands when police found him and later told investigators he had cut his grandmother’s jugular, the records said.
‘I stabbed my grandma,’ he told them. A medical examiner later determined that nine of the 111 stab wounds were to the heart, the Deseret News reported.
Weston has been charged with aggravated murder, a capital offense. Family members told the Salt Lake Tribune that Weston suffers from mental illness.
They described his life as a ‘tragedy in slow motion’, adding that he had bounced about between living with different family members his whole life.
‘Zach was always a sweetheart, but he started receding into his mental illness to where he was almost catatonic,’ his uncle, Charles Kulander said. ‘He was withdrawn, lethargic.’
Kulander described the grandmother, nicknamed Honey, as ‘a martyr by any definition’.
‘If anybody was closer and loved Zach more than her, I don’t know how. She was always there for him. The rest of us had just had it up to here [with Weston], but Honey always kept her door open.’
He was arrested in 2010 after he was accused of pushing his mother and striking a police officer. He pleaded guilty to one of two assault charges and was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and complete any recommended treatment as part of his sentence.
On August 9 he was arrested again and charged with two counts of assault and interfering with a police officer after slapping a hospital employee and punching another in the face.
He was also charged with assault for hitting his father during a September 27 argument.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill declined to comment Friday on a possible motive in the stabbing, but he praised police for responding so quickly.