Salt Lake City, UT – More details have been released in the case of a mentally ill man who stabbed his 84-year-old grandmother to death earlier this month.
On Oct 3, police were called to the home of Joyce “Honey” Dexter where they found her grandson, 21-year-old Zachary Weston, covered in blood and standing over her dead body while holding a bloody knife. Weston later told investigators that he “stabbed his grandma” and that he “slit her belly, her jugular and her heart.” As overkill as that all sounds, it’s still an understatement.
A medical examiner later determined that Dexter had been stabbed 111 times, nine of those to her heart, and that several of Dexter’s internal organs had been removed. Because of the heinous nature of the crime, Weston was charged with aggravated murder. Since this happened in Utah, that means Weston is looking at a possible death sentence.
Weston’s family says that he’s had long-standing mental issues that have gotten progressively worse, calling his life a “tragedy in slow motion.” Weston was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has told others he was hearing voices. He was staying with his grandmother because she was the only one willing to give him a place to stay. He had worn out his welcome with the rest of his family when he started to become aggressive.
“Joyce was a martyr by any definition,” said Weston’s uncle, Charles Kulander. “If anybody was closer and loved Zach more than her, I don’t know how. She was always there for him. The rest of us had just had it up to here with Weston, but Honey always kept her door open.”
A look at his recent criminal history shows a man who’s mental health was quickly disintegrating. In October 2010 he shoved his mother and punched two police officers. In August, he slapped one University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute employee and punched another in the face. In September, he swallowed a rock and poured scalding water down his throat. That stunt got him admitted as a “psych patient” at LDS hospital where he jumped into a nurses station and injured two employees. That same month he was arrested for hitting his father during an argument and biting a woman who tried to intervene.
Reading the comments of one of the articles regarding this incident led me to a great New York Times article that you might find interesting. In it, the author describes her father losing his marbles and the hell they experienced while trying to get him help.Tags: Crime, Joyce Dexter, mental illness, Murder, Stabbing, Utah, Zachary Weston