The estranged wife of the man accused of killing Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck said he’d allegedly become violent with her before they separated.
Ayoola Ajayi is accused of kidnapping and killing 23-year-old Lueck and burning her body in his backyard in Salt Lake City.
His wife, Tenisha Jenkins Ajayi, said her aunt hooked her up with Ayoola in 2011. At first, she thought he was a “cool” and “loving person.” Over time, though, she said he became violent, the Daily Mail reported.
Tenisha, who was pregnant with another man’s child when she married Ayoola, said the couple lived in Dallas, Texas, initially but then Ayoola wanted to move to Utah. She said he became angry when she didn't want to.
“He was telling me not to talk to anybody,” Tenisha told the news outlet. “He used to check up on me. He started to get more and more aggressive. Eventually he said he would kill me if I didn’t go to Utah.”
She said the last time she saw him at a friend’s house he tried to tie her up.
“He tried to tie me up with a phone cord. When I went to run, he blocked the door. I ended up jumping through a window and cutting my arm on the glass,” Tenisha said.
When she got outside, Tenisha said Ayoola then chased her with a knife and cut her hand. She claims she didn’t go to police but moved out of her apartment and changed her number.
She also told the Daily Mail they are still married because Ayoola refused to sign divorce papers.
“I was really frightened. He kept saying he was going to kill me,” Tenisha added.
Before authorities discovered Lueck’s charred remains in Ayoola’s backyard, the University of Utah student had been missing since June 17. She’d grabbed a Lyft from the airport 2 a.m. and met a man near Hatch Park, who authorities now say was Ayoola.
Neighbors told police they noticed Ayoola burning something in his backyard in the days after Lueck went missing. Authorities later dug up the backyard and found DNA that matched Lueck's as well as items that belonged to her.
Ayoola is charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and desecration of a body in her death. He has not yet entered a plea.
An attorney for Ayoola had no comment.