A Utah man was convicted on Friday for killing a young couple and throwing their bodies down an abandoned mine shaft because they were spending time with his then-girlfriend.
Jerrod Baum, 45, faces life in prison for the killing of Brelynne ‘Breezy’ Otteson, 17, and Riley Powell, 18 who went missing at the end of 2017.
Prosecutors say Baum murdered the two teenagers after he found them with his girlfriend, Morgan Lewis, at her home in Eureka, Utah. Baum became explosive upon seeing the three together after he banned Lewis from having male friends over, including Powell, who she previously dated.
Lewis told investigators that Baum had come to her house a day later to pick her up ‘to have a talk,’ all while the two teens were tied up in the back of his jeep. The jury was told that Baum drove them to an abandoned mine outside the former silver mining town, and beat and stabbed Powell and cut Ottenson’s throat, according to Fox 13.
Baum dumped the teenager’s bodies into the mine shaft, where they were found months later.
The jury deliberated for more than 18 hours before delivering the guilty verdict.
During closing arguments, deputy Utah County attorney Christine Scott reminded jurors of the tedious search for Powell and Otteson that began in December of 2017.
‘Jerrod Baum kidnapped Riley and Breezy, murdered Riley and Breezy. Keep in mind their bodies in the mineshaft. We ask that you find him guilty,’ she said.
Dallas Young, the attorney for Baum, told jurors they were not being asked to decide whether what happened was horrible, but whether or not prosecutors proved the crimes were committed by Baum.
Young argued that the entire case hung on Lewis’ account of events, and that her story changed over time.
‘Without Morgan (Lewis), there is no case because all of this — this impressive array of all this stuff that you see — none of it implicates Jerrod in the slightest,’ Young said. ‘You cannot believe her, and you cannot be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.’
Deputy Utah County attorney Ryan McBride told jurors the bodies of Otteson and Powell were only found because Lewis came forward and told police where to look.
The families of the slain teens were emotional as the verdicts were read. Otteson’s aunt, Amanda Davis, told media outlets how hearing the word ‘guilty’ was a major relief.
‘It’s been a tense four years, and to hear that first “guilty” was, it was like it was a weight lifted. It’s been long overdue, but we did it,’ she said. ‘We got justice for the kids.’
In addition to two counts of aggravated murder, the jury also found Baum guilty of six other charges: two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of abuse or desecration of a dead human body and obstructing justice. For the aggravated murder charges, Baum faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
For more stories like this, .
Do you find OkayWap useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!