Ayoola Ajayi sentenced to life in prison for murder of Mackenzie Lueck

Ayoola Ajayi (inset) was formally charged on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, with the murder of MacKenzie Lueck. His residence was searched again by officials later that day. Photos: Salt Lake County; Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 23, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Ayoola Adisa Ajayi, who on Oct. 7 pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the death of Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck, on Friday was sentenced to life in the Utah State Prison without the possibility of parole.

Ajayi had pleaded guilty to killing the 23-year-old University of Utah student, who was reported missing on June 20, 2019. Her burned remains were found in a shallow grave in Logan Canyon on July 3, 2019. Days prior to that, some of her belongings were found in a fire pit in Ajayi’s back yard.

Ajayi admitted in 3rd District Court that he had planned to kill her after meeting her on a dating website. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.

Ajayi, 32, admitted that he strangled Lueck at his Salt Lake City home, and burned her body in his yard, burying it there. It was after detective knocked on his door that Ajayi moved and reburied Lueck’s remains in Logan Canyon, his attorney said.

Ajayi and Lueck had met in 2018 on the website Seeking Arrangements. Just prior to Lueck’s murder, they agreed to meet once she returned to Salt Lake City from a family funeral in California.

In the early hours of June 17, 2019, a Lyft driver took Lueck from the Salt Lake International Airport to the meeting place, at North Salt Lake’s Hatch Park, and Ajayi drove her to his home. That is where Ajayi kill Lueck, his attorney said.

In exchange for his guilty pleas and as part of the plea deal, several other charges tied to Lueck’s murder — including aggravated kidnapping and obstructing justice — were dismissed.

Ayoola Adisa Ajayi. Photo: Court pool

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