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Juneau inmate to be extradited to answer to murder charge in Utah

Posted: July 2, 2013 - 11:13pm
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Stephen Phillip Ellenwood  COURTESY IMAGE
COURTESY IMAGE
Stephen Phillip Ellenwood

A man being held at the Juneau jail as a fugitive from justice will soon be extradited to Utah where he is wanted for criminal homicide, aggravated murder.

Judge District Court Judge Keith Levy advised Stephen Phillip Ellenwood, 40, during a status hearing Tuesday that everything appears to be in place for his transfer from Lemon Creek Correctional Center to another facility in Weber County, Utah.

Levy scheduled another hearing 30 days from now, but said Ellenwood should be gone by then.

“Everything’s in place for them to transport you, so hopefully that should happen before then,” Levy said.

Ellenwood was arrested two months ago in Haines in connection to the 1993 sexual assault and killing of a 92-year-old Ogden, Utah, woman. Ogden police say he climbed through a window at a retirement home and assaulted Grace Mae Odle, who died several days later from her injuries.

Detectives also suspect Ellenwood of sexually assaulting a 57-year-old woman that same day. Investigators say they tied Ellenwood to both crime scenes through DNA evidence.

Authorities in Utah had learned Ellenwood was residing in Haines, and they issued a sealed warrant for his arrest on April 26. (The warrant was unsealed after his arrest.)

Alaska State Troopers from Juneau, the Haines Borough Police Department and members of the Ogden Police Department arrested Ellenwood on May 8 near his residence after a foot chase through a wooded area between Small Tracts Road and Lower Mud Bay Road, according to a press release from the Haines police at the time. He was arrested by Trooper Christopher Umbs, the felony complaint states.

Ellenwood was taken into custody and transferred from Haines to LCCC in Juneau since many of the outlying communities in Southeast Alaska are not equipped to hold inmates in their facilities for more than a few days, Juneau Assistant District Attorney Nick Polasky said.

The state of Utah pursued extradition, and Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell signed off on the governor’s warrant last month, Polasky said. Juneau Assistant Public Defender Timothy Ayer said in court Tuesday that there was nothing amiss with the extradition process that they were planning on challenging.

The Chilkat Valley News in Haines reported that Ellenwood and his girlfriend moved from Idaho to Haines during the summer of 2012. The paper reported he worked at Quick Shop, a convenience, sporting good and liquor store, but was fired after about two months for failing to show up to work due to a drinking problem.

The Standard-Examiner newspaper in Utah reports that Ellenwood’s criminal history in Utah dates back to the early 1990s. An article states that he admitted to felony aggravated assault in 1993 and felony absconding in 1996, and that he has been convicted for various other crimes including drunken driving and carrying a concealed dangerous weapon. The newspaper reported he was released five years ago from an Idaho state prison where he was serving time in connection to an aggravated assault conviction in 2002.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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