SALT LAKE CITY - Police in Colorado plan to seek murder charges against an ex-convict suspected of killing a man, stealing guns from his trailer, then heading to Utah and fatally shooting a student during an attempted carjacking.
Austin Boutain and his wife, Kathleen Boutain, were both named as suspects Wednesday in the death of 63-year-old Mitchell Ingle, whose body was found in his trailer Tuesday, Golden, Colorado, police spokeswoman Karlyn Tilley said in a statement.
Investigators believe the Boutains met Ingle only a few days before his death, describing their encounters as "chance meetings" at a creek near Ingle's trailer home.
Authorities also plan to recommend a murder charge against Kathleen Boutain.
Police in Utah describe the couple as drifters who drove Ingle's pickup truck from Colorado to Utah, then gave it to another transient couple after they arrived on Saturday.
They're also suspected of taking three guns from Ingle's trailer. Austin Boutain used one of those handguns in the slaying of 23-year-old Chinese computer-science student ChenWei Guo in a canyon near the University of Utah campus, police said.
Austin Boutain, 24, told investigators he killed Guo and then fired two rounds at Guo's friend so there would be no witnesses, according to jail booking documents.
The friend, a female University of Utah student, told police she escaped after the gunman tried to drag her up a canyon. He narrowly missed her and she called police to report the killing, University of Utah police said.
The killing sparked a massive manhunt. Police say Boutain evaded it by crawling over hillsides north of campus, making his way through neighbourhoods and into Salt Lake City, where he was spotted by an alert librarian about 15 hours later and arrested.
Boutain was booked Tuesday into the Salt Lake County jail on suspicion of aggravated murder, robbery and other charges. He will likely face charges in Utah first, and then be extradited to Colorado, Golden Police Capt. Joe Harvey said.
No attorney has been listed for him or his wife.
Colorado authorities said they also plan to recommend robbery and motor vehicle theft charges against the couple.
Boutain admitted to Utah police that he stole guns from Ingle. He said he hid a .44-calibre Ruger handgun used to shoot Guo in a crevice of a brick wall near the Salt Lake City homeless shelter, but when he returned it was gone.
He traded a second gun, a .38-calibre Smith and Wesson, for an ounce of marijuana, the jail documents state. The third, a rifle, was found by police at a makeshift camp in the canyon were he'd been living near the university.
Investigators from Colorado have also interviewed the husband and wife and say they are the only suspects in Ingle's death.
Austin Boutain has a rap sheet that includes drug, car theft and weapons charges in Minnesota and Alabama dating back to his days as a juvenile.
He was paroled in May after serving a year and a half in an Alabama prison for being a convicted sex offender and failing to report his whereabouts to police.
His parole was transferred this spring to Wisconsin, where he has family, but he skipped and a warrant for his arrest was issued Aug. 31, about a week after he last checked in with his parole agent, according to authorities.
Police say Guo, a devout Mormon from Beijing, was in the area popular with hikers with his friend when they encountered Boutain, who'd been staying in the makeshift camp with his wife in the canyon.
Kathleen Boutain went to campus Monday to report an assault by her husband, touching off the chain of events that led to Guo's death, police said.
Associated Press writers Kathleen Foody in Denver and Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.