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Suspect in Magna apparent murder-suicide had history of mental illness, officials say

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Posted at 9:39 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 23:39:19-04

MAGNA, Utah - Unified Police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide in Magna after relatives, including children, found a man stabbed to death in their home.

"There was blood everywhere," said Liliana Rodriguez, a friend of the deceased.

Officers said at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, 35-year-old Jared Groves got into a fight with his next-door neighbor, 38-year-old David Perea.

The argument got heated and detectives said Groves chased Perea inside his own home where Groves stabbed him to death.

"He was such a nice guy," Rodriguez added. "You never expect something like this."

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said Groves did appear to have a history of mental illness.

Unified police spent most of the day Wednesday gathering information from those who knew Groves best.

"He asked me if he could come over and say his last goodbyes and I told him no," said James Stratton, who has been best friends with Groves since he was 10.

Stratton said Groves had texted him suicidal messages earlier in the day and that he had sent a different friend over to check on him. However, Stratton thinks that's the exact time that Groves was on his way to his home.

"He didn't want to listen to that I guess because the next thing I know, I heard a car door and he was walking up our driveway and I didn't notice the knife in his hand," Stratton added. "He didn't say anything. He just had this weird look in his eye. I asked him why he's here, and that's when he took the knife to me."

Stratton said his friend stabbed him three times before he fled into the backyard to grab a rake to defend himself.

He said his wife called 911.  When police got there they used a stun gun on Groves twice, and then they said Groves "suddenly stabbed himself in the neck, cutting his artery," according to a UPD news release.

Within minutes, Groves was dead.

Stratton said his friend had recently become depressed after losing his parents and grandmother in the past couple years.

"He was such a good guy, he wasn't a monster in any kind of way," Stratton added. "For some reason, he just went off his rocker."