OGDEN — Andy Dennis’s bags were packed when police came for him, a prosecutor said Thursday in convincing a judge to deny bail for the murder suspect.
Dennis, 36, of Pleasant View, is charged with first-degree felony murder. The body of his ex-girlfriend, Lopine “Chynna” Toilolo, 30, of West Jordan, was found near the Ogden River on May 12.
Public defender Gage Crowther argued the evidence presented so far by Weber County prosecutors does not rise to the level of “clear and substantial” grounds for keeping Dennis behind bars pending trial.
But Dean Saunders of the Weber County Attorney’s Office said the police probable cause statement detailing the reasons for Dennis’ arrest demonstrates ample reason for denying bail.
Dennis was the last person seen with Toilolo, and cellphone tower “ping” records show Dennis was in Ogden Canyon a day before Toilolo’s body was found, Saunders said.
He said Dennis allegedly instructed his children to lie about what happened in the early morning hours of May 10 at his residence and he took Toilolo’s phone from her and put it in a box in his garage, Saunders said.
The prosecutor also said there is a high risk that Dennis would flee town if released from jail.
“When officers went to talk to him, he had his luggage packed,” Saunders said. “He’s from Guam, he lost his job due to COVID-19 so he’s not working, and his children are no longer in his custody.”
The prosecutor also cited a Layton domestic violence case from December in which Dennis was accused of beating and seriously injuring Toilolo.
When Toilolo was killed, Dennis was out on bail pending trial on the assault charge.
“By killing her, he violated the conditions of his release,” Saunders said, adding that Layton prosecutors have filed a motion to revoke Dennis’ bail in that case.
Dennis presents a danger to the community and other alleged victims of domestic abuse, Saunders said.
“He might not be a danger to this victim, because she’s dead, but he may be a danger to others if he is released,” Saunders said.
Second District Judge Joseph Bean denied Dennis bail, saying he was most concerned about the potential danger to the community.
The judge also cited “the obstruction of justice risk.”
In addition to murder, Dennis is charged with two second-degree felony charges of obstruction of justice and a third-degree felony count of abuse or desecration of a corpse.
“That he would attempt to dodge, to what extent he would go, concerns me,” Bean said.
He furthermore extended a pretrial restraining order prohibiting Dennis from contacting Toilolo’s relatives or his children.
An autopsy said Toilolo died of strangulation and her body had drag marks on it. Weber County Sheriff’s Office said in the arrest affidavit that Toilolo was killed somewhere else.
A neighbor of Dennis’ took photos of Dennis and Toilolo leaving in his car early May 10, the affidavit said.
Dennis’ next court appearance is July 16.