A man accused of stabbing his former girlfriend to death in her Magna home and assaulting her 14-year-old daughter was charged Tuesday with criminal homicide.

Charles Richard Gunkel, 52, was charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and third-degree felony aggravated assault.

Last Friday, Gunkel went to the home of Morena Robbins, 51, near 7300 West and 4000 South. Her daughter answered the door and Gunkel asked to speak to her mother, according to court documents. But the teen daughter refused.

Gunkel responded by breaking through the locked front door, court documents stated. He found Robbins and pushed her onto the ground in her bedroom, pinned her arms while sitting on her and started to choke her, according to court documents.

He then took out a knife and threatened Robbins. When the daughter told him to stop, he pointed the knife at her "and told her to 'shut up' or he would 'cut her, too,"' according to documents.

The daughter ran out the door to a neighbor's house to call police. When Salt Lake County sheriff's deputies arrived a short time later, they found Robbins' body still in her bedroom. She had been stabbed five times in the abdomen, court documents stated. A large brown folding knife was found in the bushes outside her home.

Gunkel was arrested a short time later after the sheriff's office received a second phone call three blocks away from the murder scene. He was being held Tuesday in the Salt Lake County Jail on $1 million bail.

Neighbors said they had witnessed Gunkel and Robbins holding hands in church just two weeks earlier.


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