HEBER CITY — A man accused of murdering a woman nearly 18 years ago made his first appearance in a Utah courtroom Monday to face the new criminal charges against him.
Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, was charged in Heber City's 4th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony. He is accused of killing 17-year-old Krystal Lynn Beslanowitch and leaving her body along the bank of the Provo River in Wasatch County on Dec. 15, 1995.
Simpson, who had been living with his mother and stepfather in Sarasota, Fla., was extradited back to Utah. On Monday, a judge officially informed Simpson of the charge against him and assigned an attorney to represent him.
Fourth District Judge Derek Pullan recused himself from the case because he was the prosecutor who assisted the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office during its investigation when the crime occurred. Judge Lynn W. Davis will take over the case, according to court records.
Simpson's next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9.
An autopsy determined that Beslanowitch died from multiple blunt force injuries to her head. The case went cold, however, until 2008 when detectives were able to take advantage of advances in DNA technology by Sorenson Forensics. An exact match was made in August when investigators went to Florida, followed Simpson and collected a freshly discarded cigarette butt that they watched him smoke.
This isn't Simpson's first time facing a murder charge in Utah.Comment on this story
Simpson was arrested in August of 1987 by Clearfield police and later convicted of murder, according to court records. Simpson was sent to the Utah State Prison in November of 1987.
He was first paroled in April of 1995. In June of 1997, he received a travel permit while on parole, according to Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke. He went to Nevada where he was arrested on a drug-related charge.
Simpson spent a short time in jail in Nevada before he was extradited back to Utah to serve his sentence at the Utah State Prison in June of 1997, Gehrke said. Simpson was paroled again in September of 1997, and completed parole in 2003.