Mon County Man Pleads Guilty To Strangling, Killing Woman
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on May 15, 2013 @ 9:05AM
Created on May 14, 2013 @ 6:18PM
43 years in prison that's the punishment staring 40-year-old Kevin Utter in face after he plead guilty on Tuesday afternoon to killing Christina Terry and torching her car in 2011.
Despite admitting to the crimes, prosecutors are still trying to figure out what drove Utter to murder.
Utter, who looked to have gained weight and grew a beard, looked noticeably different from the time he was in October of 2011. That's when investigators found Terry's body in the woods near University High School. Prosecutors said Utter and Terry spent the night drinking at Noivchenk's, which is on Point Marion Road.
During his plea hearing on Tuesday Utter plead guilty .to strangling Terry and running her over.
"Her clothing was partly off, but there was no evidence of sexual assault that was discovered at the Medical Examiner's office," Monongalia County Prosecutor, Marcia Ashdown said.
Leading up Utter's plea on Tuesday there were still a lot of question surrounding the case, including how the two knew each other. Ashdown said they apparently never had a prior relationship and only met the night of the murder.
"Sometimes we know that people haven't known each other at all and they just come together in a very unfortunate way," Ashdown said.
Ashdown said they were able to place Utter at the crime scene thanks to some tiny screws and unique pieces of construction styrofoam which he used for his job. She took time during the hearing to praise investigators for finding those pieces of evidence.
"The outcome today (Tuesday) is the reason why you do that," Monongalia County Sheriff, Al Kisner said about gathering those pieces.
"You make sure you cover all your bases because otherwise that case may have gone to trial and he may have been acquitted."
During the hearing, Utter also admitted to the judge that he had a drug and alcohol problem since he was 14-years-old.
Ashdown admitted to 5 News the case is disturbing, but she said it also comes with a valuable lesson.
"I suppose it's a good reason for people to always be aware of how much alcohol they're consuming," she said. "(Also) what their surroundings are, who they're with and really be very, very careful."
Terry's family and Utter's family both declined to comment after the hearing.
Utter's sentencing is in a couple of months, but prosecutors have recommended the maximum punishment for his crimes which is 43 years behind bars.
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