A California man who tried to kill his estranged wife after breaking into her Layton home last fall was sentenced to five years to life in prison Tuesday, with an additional five years added on for possessing a handgun.
Terry M. Dexter, 43, was sentenced by 2nd District Judge Rodney S. Page on his guilty plea in April to a charge of aggravated burglary.The judge added a five-year firearm enhancement to run consecutively to the first prison term.
Dexter pleaded guilty to breaking into the Layton home of his estranged wife, Christine, on Oct. 9, armed with a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol.
Prosecutors maintain that Dexter, who had been telephoning and tailing his estranged wife, intended to kill her. In the court hearing, in which he pleaded guilty, Dexter said he broke into the house through a sliding glass door. He said he intended to harm her but, once inside the house, changed his mind.
He was trying to leave when his wife and her teenage son from a previous marriage attacked him, Dexter said.
After the incident, Dexter was charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. While being held in jail, he was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, another first-degree felony, when prosecutors said he tried to arrange for a hit man to kill Christine.
In a plea negotiation, the aggravated assault and conspiracy charges were dropped in return for Dexter's guilty plea to the aggravated burglary count, also a first-degree felony.
Prosecutors say Dexter broke into the home that night by firing a shot through the glass door.
After shattering the door, Dexter walked into the house and said, "Christine, I'm here to kill you," according to prosecutor Carvel Harward. Another shot was fired after Dexter chased Christine down a hallway and into her bedroom, Harward said.
One of Christine's sons slipped out a bedroom window while Dexter was struggling with the boy's mother and called police from a neighbor's home. The second son armed himself with a knife from the kitchen and came to his mother's defense.
During that part of the fight, Dexter tried to fire the gun again but it jammed, according to prosecutors. The son stabbed Dexter twice, driving him out of the house.
Layton police found Dexter hiding a few minutes later and arrested him.