Murder charges filed against Payson couple

Published: Monday, Dec. 3 2012 3:20 p.m. MST

Chaelisa Nielsen, 20, was charged Monday with aggravated murder in the Nov. 23 shooting death of Jeff Vern Jensen, 28, of Payson.

, Utah County Jail

PAYSON — A couple faces murder charges after police say they shot and killed a man they were trying to rob so they could have Christmas cash.

Stephan Sutton, 26, and Chaelisa Nielsen, 20, were charged Monday in 4th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; conspiracy to commit murder, a second-degree felony; conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, a second-degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; escape, a third-degree felony; and two misdemeanors.

On Nov. 23, Jeff Vern Jensen, 28, of Payson, with shot and killed in a vacant Flying J parking lot. Sutton and Nielsen had been planning to rob Jensen for about a week, according to charging documents, "so they could have money for the holidays and to buy a ring for Nielsen."

They arranged a drug deal with Jensen, according to court documents. When they met in the vacant parking lot, Sutton shot Jensen in the chest at the encouragement of Nielsen, charging documents state.

Shortly after the shooting, a deputy spotted Sutton's pickup truck and attempted to pull him over on a routine traffic stop. Sutton fled, leading police on a short chase.

The car chase ended when Sutton got out of his vehicle and ran. Officers surrounded Sutton, who "began asking the officers to just shoot him," according to court records. Instead, a Taser was used and Sutton was handcuffed, charging documents said.

Investigators found, "a wad of bloody money and two knives" in his pockets. He told the arrested officers that he wanted to speak to his girlfriend who was still in the truck. But when officers investigated, Nielsen was gone.

As Sutton was being checked by paramedics, he ran off again. A paramedic and an officer tackled Sutton and arrested him again, according to court records. He was placed in a police patrol car with his hands handcuffed behind his back but ran off yet again before being caught several blocks later, the charges state.

After he was taken into custody again, Sutton said, "It was self-defense, I had to do what I had to do, he came at me," according to court records. Nielsen was later found by investigators back in Sutton's garage, hiding. She reportedly had called someone to get a ride home while police were focused on finding Sutton.

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

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