Weber County Attorney Reed Richards is seeking the death penalty for a Layton man convicted of having his estranged wife killed. The prosecutor says the man gained financially from the murder.
Jon Wetzel was convicted of first-degree aggravated murder on Sept. 16 by a 12-member jury. His penalty hearing began Monday and the jury was waived. Now 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon must decide if the 40-year-old defendant should get the death sentence or life in prison with or without the possibility of parole.Wetzel didn't testify at his trial, but he was expected Tuesday to testify on his own behalf during his penalty hearing.
The body of Sharol Wetzel, 36, Ogden, was found in her car by the Ogden River on Nov. 20, 1985, seven days after she had filed for divorce from Jon Wetzel. Wetzel's girlfriend, Kittie Eakes, confessed to the murder two days later and she was eventually sentenced to serve from six years to life in prison for the murder.
After spending about five years in prison, Eakes implicated Jon Wetzel in the murder. He was arrested earlier this year.
Eakes testified at Jon Wetzel's trial that he hounded her into killing his wife because he didn't want Sharol Wetzel to receive any property from the pending divorce. Eakes complied, shooting the victim once in the head.
Val Christensen, Sharol Wetzel's son, testified Monday that neither he nor his sister received any property or money from his mother's estate.
Christensen said that after his mother died, he at one time went into his mother's house and took some furniture but brought the property back after Jon Wetzel complained.
Deann Lavato, the victim's sister, also testified at the penalty hearing that neither of Sharol Wetzel's children received any money from her sister's pension plan or life insurance policy. She said Jon Wetzel received the death benefits.
Lavato also told the judge that Jon Wetzel refused to pay for any of Sharol Wetzel's funeral expenses and that she and her two brothers paid the bill.
"My hope was that her (Sharol's) children would be recognized in the estate," she said. "They got nothing."