Man admits kidnapping ex-girlfriend, plans to plead guilty to murdering her
SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man accused of strangling his former girlfriend, stuffing her body into a storage bin and driving to Missouri admitted to kidnapping Wednesday in federal court.
Next month, Michael Jerome Doyel, 51, intends to plead guilty in state court to killing Deborah Marie Jones in 2008 after she broke off their relationship.
"I don't think I should be in society for what I did wrong," Doyel told U.S. District Judge Dee Benson on Wednesday.
Benson granted his request, sentencing the previously convicted felon to 30 years in prison for kidnapping Jones. Doyel, in a federal plea agreement, admitted that he "held her against her will, in order to convince her to come back to me, which resulted in her death."
Doyel suffers mental and physical health problems. Benson said he doesn't anticipate Doyel will be a "free man in this lifetime." He was charged for crimes related to Jones' death in both federal and state courts. A guilty plea to murder in state court will result in a life sentence, said Doyel's lawyer Todd Utzinger.
Jones' family members said Doyel, also known as Mick Haroldson, took something precious from them, and though he will spend his life behind bars, they can never get back what he took.
"He tore apart our family," said her son Jeff Jones. "He can rot in hell for all I care."
Another son, Bryan Jones, said, "He's guilty and he's scum and he has cancer and I hope it eats him alive soon."
Jones' brother Douglas Baker said his mother and Doyel met on Craigslist and dated about six months. He said he discovered Doyel had a history of fraud in Iowa and tried to warn to her not to go anywhere with him.
Jones, 50, was last seen alive with Doyel outside a Salt Lake restaurant on April 16, 2008, and was reported missing four days later.
Doyel and Murray were found at a motel near Branson, Mo., on April 21, 2008. Authorities found Jones' body, bound at the hands and feet with nylon cords, in the plastic container sealed with bungee cords in her car. Doyel rubbed deodorant on the bin to mask the smell of her body.
According to court documents, Doyel harassed Jones after she broke up with him. He left her a voice message saying he would carve her name in his arm if he couldn't have her. Arresting officers in Missouri found her name freshly carved into his arm.
Police also found the names of other women carved into his arm, leading federal investigators to look into whether Doyel had hurt other women.
"The scars were so old that we couldn't identify any of the names or link him to any other persons," said assistant U.S. attorney Carlos Esqueda.
Doyel's criminal history in Iowa includes shoplifting, theft and forgery. He served time in federal prison 13 years ago for fraud, Utzinger said. In Utah, he had run-ins with the law for assault on a police officer and was arrested for being a fugitive from Iowa.
Doyel was originally charged in 3rd District Court with murder and kidnapping, first-degree felonies, and obstruction of justice and theft, second-degree felonies.
State prosecutors say Doyel killed Jones and also took Patricia Murray, a mentally challenged woman, with him on the cross-country trip without the consent of her guardian. Murray told police she saw the bin but did not know what was inside.
Utzinger said the state dismissed all but the murder charge to which Doyel is scheduled to plead guilty on Jan. 6.
A state court judge initially found Doyel incompetent to stand trial. He reversed that ruling in July after Doyel spent time at the Utah State Hospital. Doyel is currently being held in the Salt Lake County Jail.
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