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Salt Lake City man arrested in death of grandmother

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SALT LAKE CITY — Police arrested a 21-year-old man Wednesday in connection with the death of his 84-year-old grandmother in the Avenues.

Zachary Cole Weston was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of homicide in the death of Joyce Dexter.

Police received a call about 2 p.m. Wednesday regarding an unspecified incident, which led to the discovery of Dexter's body at the woman's home, 310 J St.

Police said Weston is Dexter's grandson. Neighbors said Weston and Dexter's adult daughter had been living with her.

Salt Lake City police detective Josh Ashdown said few details are available about the woman's death.

The woman appeared to have died as a result of injury, Ashdown said, though details about the injuries were not released.

Paymon Saebi, a neighbor, said he was "devastated" when he learned of Dexter's death.

"She always asked me how I'm doing," said Saebi, who has lived nearby for three years. "She's a very, very sweet person."

Saebi said Dexter had lived in the home for at least 10 years, and Weston had come and gone over the past few years.

Saebi, who drove up as officers arrived on scene, said he watched Weston being led away in handcuffs. The man's hands were "drenched in blood," he said.

"You usually don't see yellow tape in the Avenues," Saebi said. "Everyone is nice around here."

A search of court records shows Weston was charged in September 2010 with assault and assault against a police officer, both class A misdemeanors, as well as class B misdemeanor assault and interference with an arresting officer.

According to charging documents, Weston was asked by a police officer to leave 7-Eleven at 1305 E. 3900 South because an employee reported he had been loitering there for several hours.

While an officer was speaking with Weston, the man's his mother arrived, the charges state. Weston became angry with his mother and shoved her backward, according to the charges.

When the officer attempted to take Weston into custody, the man punched the officer in the face, the charges state. Another officer assisted in taking Weston into custody.

Weston entered a guilty plea in abeyance on the class A misdemeanor assault charge in March 2011. The other three charges were dismissed. The judge ordered a mental health evaluation and for Weston to complete any recommended treatment.

Contributing: Jennifer Stagg and Jared Page

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com Twitter: @McKenzieRomero