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Murder charge filed in Wasatch County cold case

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 10:25 a.m. MDT

Krystal Beslanowitch, 17, was killed in 1995. Her body was found along the banks of the Provo River near Midway. Police believe she was beaten to death with rocks. Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, who already served time in the Utah State Prison in the 1980s for murder, was arrested in Sarasota County, Fla., on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, for investigation of murder in her death. (Wasatch County Sheriff's Office) Krystal Beslanowitch, 17, was killed in 1995. Her body was found along the banks of the Provo River near Midway. Police believe she was beaten to death with rocks. Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, who already served time in the Utah State Prison in the 1980s for murder, was arrested in Sarasota County, Fla., on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, for investigation of murder in her death. (Wasatch County Sheriff's Office)

HEBER CITY — Nearly 18 years after a Salt Lake City teen was found bludgeoned to death, a Florida man who has already served time once for murder has been charged in her death.

Joseph Michael Simpson, 46, was charged Thursday in 4th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of 17-year-old Krystal Lynn Beslanowitch.

Beslanowitch's body was found on the banks of the Provo River near Midway on Dec. 15, 1995. The girl who family members said had been prostituting since she was 15 was found naked, apparently beaten to death with some of the large, granite rocks that lined the river.

A former Utah resident, Simpson has lived in Sarasota, Fla., with his parents since 1997. Following an undercover operation to collect additional DNA evidence, Wasatch County Sheriff Todd Bonner arrested Simpson in Florida on Sept. 17. Advances in forensic technology linked Simpson to DNA collected from the scene of Beslanowitch's death.

Prior to the DNA match, Simpson had not been a suspect in the teen's death and the case had been cold. He is expected to be extradited to Utah in the next few weeks.

Simpson was arrested in August 1987 by Clearfield police and convicted of murder in a Farmington court a couple of months later, according to court records. Simpson first arrived at the Utah State Prison in November 1987.

He was first paroled in April 1995. Beslanowitch was murdered eight months later.

Utah state court records show that Simpson was in Utah as recently as 2010 when he received a minor traffic citation in Syracuse.

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