Police: Utah man admits to hanging, separate slaying

July 12, 2022 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man is in custody after police say he admitted hanging a man and killing another man as part of a “purge” that he claimed was directed by a higher power.

Christian Francis Taele, 28, was arrested after police responding to a report of an assault found the 23-year-old victim hanging from a piece of gym equipment at an apartment complex in Ogden on Saturday evening. It’s unclear if Taele has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

KSL-TV reports he is being held for investigation of attempted murder.

Witnesses said Taele, of Lake Shore, approached the victim, strangled him with a rope or strap and kicked him numerous times before dragging him into the gym. The man was hospitalized and has no signs of brain activity.

“The attack was unprovoked and there is no indication that either the suspect or victim have ever spoken prior to the attack,” police wrote in an affidavit.

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While Ogden police interviewed Taele, investigators say he confessed to a homicide in Spanish Fork and provided details of the slaying and the crime scene that had not been publicized. In that case, the body of 49-year-old Ryan Hooley was found next to a trash bin Friday.

“Christian stated that he killed both the victim in Spanish Fork and in Ogden because he was directed to by a higher power and to ‘purge’ the city,” according to a police booking affidavit.