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Suspect in Avenues homicide charged in other violent incidents

Published: Friday, Oct. 5 2012 11:09 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — New charges were filed Thursday against a man accused in the gruesome stabbing death of his 84-year-old grandmother.

The charges filed in 3rd District Court were for an unrelated assault against another family member. But they, combined with other recent charges, appear to outline a trend of growing violence with 21-year-old Zachary Cole Weston.

Weston is facing two counts of assault, charges that were elevated to class A misdemeanors because he is a repeat domestic violence offender.

On Sept. 27, Weston, who was living with his father, Walt Weston, in the Millcreek area, got into an argument with his dad and began hitting him, according to court documents. When a female friend of Walt Weston, who was also at the house, tried to intervene, Zach Weston bit her, the charges state.

Weston is currently being held for investigation of aggravated murder for allegedly stabbing his grandmother, Joyce Dexter, and slicing her abdomen open. Weston had been living with his grandmother. No criminal charges have yet been filed in her death.

The two incidents were the latest in what appeared to be escalating violence with Weston.

In 2010, Weston was arrested for shoving his mother and hitting a police officer. In a plea abeyance deal, he pleaded guilty to one of two assault charges. As part of his sentence, he was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and complete any recommended treatment.

On Aug. 8, Weston was at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute at University Hospital for an initial assessment when he slapped a UNI employee with an open hand, according to a University of Utah police report. This was during a procedure called the "restraining process," according to police records.

Weston punched an employee in the face when he was told to go back to the assessment area, the report states. When they tried the restraining process again, the employee was punched in the face a second time. Another employee was then punched in the head, the report states.

On Aug. 9 he was charged with two counts of assault and interfering with a police officer during an arrest, class B misdemeanors. On Sept. 24 he was charged with two counts of battery and making a false alarm, also class B misdemeanors.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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