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Charges filed in 1996 cold case homicide of West Valley City pizza delivery woman

SALT LAKE CITY — A man already serving time in the Utah State Prison for the rape of a University of Utah student nearly 30 years ago — and who at one time was also charged with murdering a second U. student as well as three other women in Illinois — is now accused in a cold case homicide from West Valley City from 1996.

Donald Eugene Younge Jr., 57, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with murder, aggravated kidnaping and aggravated robbery, all first-degree felonies.

Lisa Redmond, 36, who worked as a pizza delivery woman for a West Valley Pizza Hut restaurant, 3390 S. 5600 West, was last seen on Dec. 9, 1996, at 9:45 p.m. as she left to make her final run of the night.

Just 10 minutes later, her body was spotted by a passerby at 3100 S. 5420 West. An autopsy later determined her injuries were caused by blunt force trauma to her head and torso, and she may have been run over by her own truck. Her 1994 GMC extended-cab pickup, which she used to make deliveries, was found the next day near 3300 S. 4440 West.

“During an inventory search of Lisa’s truck, detectives saw signs of a struggle in the cab of the truck. Blood was found on the front passenger seat, on the head rest, and on the interior near the passenger door. A shoe print was found on the passenger door and was confirmed to belong to Lisa. Blood was found on the lower passenger-side rocker panel leading to the rear of the truck, there was blood spot located on the exhaust system on the passenger side, and blood was found on the components underneath the truck suggesting that Lisa was run over,” according to charging documents.

A knife with a palm print was found in the truck as well as blood on a seat belt buckle, the charges state.

In 2000, Pizza Hut upped its reward for information in the case to $10,000.

Still, the case became cold, and no one was ever arrested.

Lisa Redmond
Lisa Redmond (Photo: Family photo)

From the beginning, West Valley City Police Chief Colleen Jacobs says it was a classic “whodunit” case.

“There were very few leads to follow in the beginning,” the chief said Thursday. “With the advances in technology, we’ve been able to (put together) many of these missing pieces in this case.”

Thanks in part to advances in DNA technology, in 2019 a match was made to Younge based on the blood preserved from the seat belt buckle.

“(Investigators) thought they had exhausted looking at all the samples,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Thursday while announcing the charges. “But these other pieces that were there were not tested.”

In 2019, Younge was interviewed by detectives, according to the charges.

“Younge was informed that his DNA and prints were found at the scene of a homicide that occurred in December 1996,” the charges state.

Younge initially denied even being in West Valley City, according to investigators. But police say he allegedly believed detectives were talking about DNA from a sex assault.

“When Younge was informed that it was blood DNA, Younge stated that if his DNA and prints were on scene, and if detectives weren’t interviewing anyone else, that he was clearly the suspect in this case,” according to charging documents.

During a news conference on Thursday, Gill noted that in 2019, prosecutors knew they had time to build a strong case. That’s because Younge was already serving a lengthy sentence in the Utah State Prison.

Younge was convicted in 2010 of a brutal sexual assault that happened on Nov. 7, 1996. The victim was a 23-year-old University of Utah student who was attacked as she was walking home from campus. He was sentenced to at least 30 years and up to life in the Utah State Prison. That case was also solved thanks to DNA evidence.

But before his rape conviction, in 2008, Younge was charged with murder in the 1999 stabbing death of 22-year-old U. theater student Amy Quinton in her Salt Lake City apartment. That case was put on hold, however, when Younge was linked to the killings of three women in Illinois, and prosecutors in that state were told to proceed. But when that case was dismissed due to credibility issues of a key prosecution witness, Younge was transferred back to Utah to face the murder charge in the Quinton case.

Quinton’s death was a capital murder case for which prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty. But in 2012, that case was also dismissed due to evidentiary concerns. Quinton’s mother told reporters at the time that she was convinced Younge was responsible for her daughter’s death. On Thursday, Gill called the investigation into the killing of Quinton still very active and declined to say whether Younge had been excluded as a possible suspect.

In 2017, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole ordered Younge to serve 23 more years in prison for his 1996 rape conviction before another parole hearing is held in February 2040.

“Justice for Lisa and her family has been a long time coming,” Jacobs said.

Redmond’s husband, James E. Redmond Jr., was killed in a crash near Fort Collins, Colorado, in June 1999. The couple’s two children, Megan and Nathan, were sent at that time to live with James Redmond’s parents in Colorado. Jacobs said on Thursday that her office had been in touch with Redmond’s family to notify them of the charges but declined to talk about their reaction to the news, saying that the family has requested privacy at this time.

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