PROVO — It's been 12 1/2 years since Kiplyn Davis disappeared, and for the first time Wednesday, her family saw a former classmate appear before a judge on a murder charge.
Christopher Jeppson, 30, sat shackled in a jury box, waiting for his turn to face 4th District Judge Lynn Davis and hear the charge of first-degree murder.
Jeppson was charged last Thursday by the Utah County Attorney's Office and has been added to the murder case pending against Timmy Brent Olsen, 30, another former classmate of Kiplyn's who was charged with her murder in January 2006.
"We are thrilled with our prosecuting attorneys," Kiplyn's father, Richard Davis, said after the hearing early Wednesday. "This is a big step. We are hoping this will put enough pressure on them to have them tell us where she is (so we can) bring her home. We don't want vengeance."
Jeppson, Olsen and three other men were previously indicted by a federal grand jury for perjury, accused of lying to federal investigators about their knowledge and involvement in the 15-year-old's disappearance.
Jeppson will be sentenced in federal court on Nov. 28, and it's unknown how this case may affect the federal case, or vice versa, said Jeppson's attorney, Scott Williams, who also represented Jeppson in his federal trial.
At the press conference last week for the murder charge, federal prosecutors said they would work with the local jurisdiction to ensure there are no more delays, either for Olsen or Jeppson.
Olsen and Jeppson will have a joint hearing on Oct. 31, which will be the first physical appearance for Olsen in 4th District Court.
Jeppson's attorney also asked for a hearing on Oct. 16 to address bail. Jeppson is in the Utah County Jail on $100,000 cash-only bail, and his attorney wants it lowered.
Richard Davis said he'll be back as well, arguing vehemently against a lower bail.
"I want to let (the judge) know how we feel," he said. "We lock our doors every night. I am scared for my family. It's taken us a long time to get to this point. He needs to stay where he is."
Prosecutor Mariane O'Bryant said the judge would consider Jeppson's potential to re-offend as well as the possibility that he would run away if he bailed out of jail. She said she also has the ability to ask for an increased bail amount.
Jeppson continued to glance toward Davis and his wife and their friends seated on the front row of the courtroom, and Davis said he never looked away.
"I want him to know I'm here ... representing Kiplyn," Davis said. "It's Kiplyn looking back at him. "
Davis emphasized that their family is not vindictive, they just crave the information that will lead them to their daughter's body, so she can be brought home and properly buried.
"Justice needs to be served and time spent (in prison), but it doesn't have to be a lifetime of service," he said. "I'm worried about their families. I don't want to be in their shoes, but they need to put themselves in my shoes. Let's get it settled and bring Kiplyn home."