SANDY A Salt Lake businessman has been arrested and charged in connection with the November slaying of a man outside a Sandy Village Inn.
Eugene Christopher Wright, 32, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder.
"This has truly been a team effort," Sandy Police Chief Steve Chapman said Thursday, praising all the investigators involved the case who worked "relentlessly" to bring it to a resolution.
Wright is accused of gunning down Kenneth G. Dolezsar, 50, in the parking lot of Village Inn, 150 W. 10600 South, on Nov. 15. The wealthy Springville businessman, who was also a part-time hockey coach at Utah Valley State College, was reportedly meeting someone for breakfast that morning when he was a shot multiple times.
Police say the gunman and Dolezsar began arguing in front of a third man who was sitting in his car apparently unnoticed by the two. The witness, who was waiting for a friend to join him for breakfast, watched as Dolezsar started backing up with his hands in the air as if to say he didn't want any trouble, police said. At that point, the shooter pulled out a gun and fired at least three times.
That witness identified Wright as the shooter, according to a probable cause statement
"He is a key part of the case," Chapman said.
What was not revealed Thursday was a motive for the crime. Both the Sandy Police Department and Salt Lake District Attorney's Office declined to discuss a possible motive, saying that information would come out in court later.
Wright and Dolezsar were "business acquaintances" who had been working on a business deal together. The two had known each other for about three months, according to detectives.
Wright owned a business called Exchange Place Capital that dealt with capital investments.
Police would not say Thursday if Wright was the man Dolezsar was scheduled to meet at Village Inn. They also would not say whether they believe the shooting was planned or a spur of the moment act. Chapman confirmed, however, that investigators believe Wright was wearing a disguise.
At that time, the gunman was described as a white man with tan skin, in his early to mid-40s, up to 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, with thick black hair pulled into a ponytail. But almost right away, detectives said it was possible the hair was actually a wig.
In addition to the eyewitness, Sandy police had been waiting for DNA test results to be returned from a private laboratory in Salt Lake City. Preliminary lab results were returned Wednesday and police obtained an arrest warrant for Wright Thursday morning. He was arrested outside an undisclosed business near 2100 South and 700 East about 1 p.m., said Sandy Police Lt. Kevin Thacker. Detectives had been monitoring Wright's movements for several hours Thursday anticipating an arrest warrant. He did not to resist arrest, Chapman said.
Investigators were still waiting Thursday for the final DNA report to be completed. Chapman noted he did not foresee any additional people being arrested.
In January, detectives served a number of search warrants at Wright's business at 15 Exchange Place in downtown Salt Lake City, his residence at the Broadway Tower Apartments, 230 E. 300 South, and on several of his vehicles including a Hummer, Porsche and motorcycle.
Bail was set today at $2.5 million for Wright.
At one point, Wright was charged by federal prosecutors with distribution of ecstacy. All seven counts of distribution, however, were dismissed in 2003 because of failure to locate a witness.
Chapman said the Village Inn slaying was one of the toughest his detectives have ever investigated.
"This is not the smoking gun case," he said.But Chapman noted that Wright had been a person of interest in the case for "quite some time." In addition to interviews and regular DNA testing, Chapman said the investigation included "electronic forensics."
Contributing: Geoffrey Fattah E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]