SALT LAKE CITY — A Layton man charged with killing a woman he had just met on Tinder pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of murder.
Police say Ethan Hunsaker, 24, picked up Ashlyn Black at her home and took her to a bar before they returned to his home, where he later choked and stabbed her with a pocket knife when he awoke to find the 25-year-old Black next to him. Theirs was a “normal date,” Hunsaker said, and they’d had no argument, according to charging documents.
His attorney, C. Markley Arrington, said Tuesday in Farmington’s 2nd District Court that he is working to set up a psychological evaluation for Hunsaker.
“I haven’t gotten to the bottom of it yet, and I’m approaching the family about finding any past records of mental health issues there,” he said after the hearing.
The evaluation will include an analysis of whether Hunsaker is legally competent, meaning he can understand the case against him and work with his lawyer, Arrington said.
A conviction of murder, a first-degree felony, carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
Prosecutors say Hunsaker called police early on May 24 and reported that he had killed someone. “He also provided his address and stated that he did not know the person he had killed and had met the person on social media,” the charges state.
He has an unspecified mental illnesses, according to court documents, and recently had thought of ways to kill and kidnap others. Hunsaker also expressed a desire to have police kill him, prosecutors allege.
Black loved vintage clothing shops and hiking, and often spoke up for others, her family has said. In a statement issued last month, they called Hunsaker a “monster.”
Hunsaker had separated from the mother of his young daughter last year “because of trials Ethan could not overcome,” states an online fundraising page, noting the woman had attempted to get him help. One of his coworkers previously recalled Hunsaker was “not the same” after the breakup.
Hunsaker returns to court July 28.
Correction: An earlier version reported Hunsaker met Black at a bar after they matched on Tinder. He actually picked up her up and took her to a bar.