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Man charged in elderly woman’s death in Murray

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Posted at 3:09 PM, Mar 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-25 17:10:36-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office filed charges Tuesday in the death of Murray woman Shirley Sharp.

Christen James Spencer, 49, has been charged in the 85-year-old woman’s death on Jan. 25, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office.

On the night of Sharp’s death Spencer allegedly broke into the Murray woman’s home and murdered her. Afterward Spencer allegedly set the house on fire and stole her vehicle.

Spencer was later stopped by a Utah Transit Authority police officer but fled the scene, the release stated.

The officer traced the vehicle back to Sharp’s home where he found the residence on fire.

An autopsy revealed that Sharp died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Spencer has been charged with criminal homicide and aggravated murder, which is a capital felony and punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole, life in prison without the possibility of parole or a sentence of death.

Spencer has also been charged with aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, aggravating robbery and aggravated arson, all are first-degree felonies, which is punishable by a maximum term of life in prison.