Millcreek man pleads guilty to aggravated murder of estranged wife, attack on daughter

Walter Eugene Branzeg. Photo: Salt Lake County; Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah May 3, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Millcreek man who in 2018 called multiple media outlets to confess to the crowbar murder of his wife and the assault of his daughter has now confessed to a judge.

Walter Eugene Brantzeg, 55, pleaded guilty on Thursday to:

  • Aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
  • Attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
  • Aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony
  • Aggravated cruelty to an animal, a class A misdemeanor

The victims of the Aug. 22 attack were Brantzeg’s estranged wife, Valerie Sue Brantzeg, 50, and the couple’s then 13-year-old daughter, who survived after being treated for skull and facial fractures at Primary Children’s Hospital. An older daughter was not at home at the time of the attack.

Walter Brantzeg “used a metal crowbar to cause blunt force trauma to both victims during a domestic dispute,” the probable cause statement says.

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“Walter contacted several news media channels using his personal cell phone … and confessed to killing his wife and assaulting his daughter. Based on this information relayed to on-scene detectives, Millcreek detectives requested an emergency PING to locate the suspect, Walter Eugene Brantzeg.”

With the phone ping information, Brantzeg was located near 308 E. 4500 South in his white Chevrolet van. He was taken into custody, without incident. Post Miranda, Brantzeg initially declined to talk to police.

Police had arrived at the crime scene, the Riverbend Apartments, at 845 W. 3900 South, at approximately 7:05 a.m., after neighbors called in a report of domestic violence in progress. Valerie Brantzeg died shortly after paramedics arrived.

An autopsy revealed 28 blunt force injuries to Valerie Brantzeg’s head, court documents say.

Walter Brantzeg is scheduled for sentencing on June 20.

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