A Roy man allegedly shot another man in an argument Saturday night, drove his body to Ogden and left it in the victim’s car in an obscure parking lot, the victim not to be discovered for three days, police said.
The death was considered suspicious, but not until an autopsy on Wednesday did authorities learn the victim had been shot once in the head.
Roy police identified the victim as Steve Bailey, 38, and on Thursday, Ogden officers arrested Daniel Lee Johnson, 48.
According to a Roy police news release and an Ogden police probable cause statement, the investigation unfolded beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday when authorities were dispatched to a possible cardiac arrest in the 3200 block of Orchard Avenue.
“The position, location and condition of the body in the vehicle appeared suspicious, but no cause of death could be determined at the time,” the Roy statement said. The Utah Office of the Medical Examiner found a gunshot wound in Bailey’s head and termed the death a likely homicide.
The Weber County Homicide Task Force was brought in, and investigators learned Bailey and Johnson, described as friends, were arguing over money at a Roy home.
Roy police said three children were at the home, in a mobile home park at 3860 S. Midland Drive, when the shooting occurred, but they were not harmed.
Sgt. Matthew Gwynn said Friday one or more of the children may have witnessed the shooting.
A .45 caliber handgun was used in the shooting, Gwynn said. Detectives found a .45 shell casing at the home and police later found the gun they believe was used.
Johnson allegedly put the dead man in Bailey’s car, drove it to Ogden and abandoned vehicle and body in an out-of-the-way lot, the Roy release said.
Gwynn said there was no obvious sign of a gunshot wound when Bailey’s body was found.
“The problem was that the body had been there a couple of days and it was found face down,” Gwynn said, adding, “The body will be purging in a couple of days.”
Bodies found in such circumstances sometimes have been left by fellow drug users who panicked after a friend overdosed, he said.
Detectives interviewed Johnson and he was booked into the Weber County Jail on Wednesday on suspicion of murder, a first degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; and abuse or desecration of a body and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, both third-degree felonies. The Weber County Attorney’s Office filed formal charges against Johnson on Friday.
The Ogden arrest affidavit said Johnson allegedly confessed to the shooting.
Asked whether any other suspects may have been involved, Gwynn said, “That’s still being looked at.”
Gwynn said Roy and Ogden police were able to make an arrest quickly with the help of the homicide task force and Weber County Crime Scene Investigations.