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Charges against University of Utah director reveal possible murder-suicide plan

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 8:33 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Charges filed Wednesday against the University of Utah director accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting his estranged wife on university property revealed he may have been planning a murder-suicide.

Lonnie Norton, director of College Computing for the U's College of Humanities, is charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault and single counts of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated burglary, all first-degree felonies; as well as aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; violation of a protective order, a class A misdemeanor; and interruption of a communication device, a class B misdemeanor.

Charges filed in 3rd District Court indicated that before sexually assaulting his estranged wife, Norton brandished a handgun and threatened to kill the woman and himself.

Police discovered an apparent will in Norton's home dated Nov. 10, 2012, one day before the alleged attack, granting guardianship of the children he and his wife have in common to a third party upon the event of their deaths, according to charging documents.

Court records indicate the woman petitioned for a restraining order against Norton in October, citing co-habitant abuse. She filed for divorce last week.

According to police, Norton forced his way into his wife's home about 2 a.m. Sunday, punched her in the face and prevented her from calling 911. He then covered her mouth with duct tape before forcing her into his car and driving to the University of Utah, all the while keeping a handgun on his lap, charges state.

Norton threatened to kill the woman if she screamed as they were moving from the car into an undisclosed campus building, according to charging documents. Once inside, Norton ordered the woman at gunpoint to undress. He then sexually assaulted the woman, charges state.

Upon leaving the university, Norton took the woman to his residence for a time before returning her to her home. She called police about 7:15 a.m.

No bail has been set for the charges against Norton, police said.

McKenzie Romero

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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