Couple’s murder trial near Eureka. postponed

Jerrod Baum appears for a hearing in Provo on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Baum is accused of killing 18-year-old Riley Powell and 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson and dumping their bodies in an abandoned mine in Wave. (Rick Eagan)

Estimated reading time: 4-5 minutes

PROVO – In preparation for the jury trial for a man accused of murdering two young adults and dumping their bodies in a mine in 2017, the Utah 4th District Court examined several motions this week and ultimately decided to close the leads delay.

Jerrod William Baum, 45, faces murder charges on the deaths of Riley Powell, 18, and Brelynne “Breezy Otteson, 17”. The two disappeared in December 2017 and their bodies were found at the Tintic Standard Mine outside Eureka in March 2018. Baum was arrested shortly afterwards.

Baum was charged with two counts of serious murder, a crime of the first degree; two cases of aggravated kidnapping, a first degree crime; two cases of desecration of a corpse, a third-degree crime; Obstruction of justice, a second degree crime; and possession of a dangerous weapon as a disabled person, a third degree crime.

This week, Judge Derek Pullan considered a significant number of motions from both prosecutors and defense, primarily regarding what evidence and testimony will be admitted at the trial, trying to strike a balance between adding undue prejudice against the defendant Finding the jury and providing evidence is necessary in the event.

Prosecutors say Powell and Otteson were friends with Baum’s then girlfriend, Morgan Lewis Henderson. Police say Henderson watched the killings and spoke to them about what happened after being stopped for speeding months after the search for the victims began. She pleaded guilty of obstruction of justice on 10 counts, a second-degree crime, and admitted helping Baum hide evidence including the victims’ cars.

The judge pondered whether certain medical records should be obtained from or presented by Henderson and whether some information about Henderson should be taken into account in the trial. He opposed dismissing Henderson’s testimony that she had acted under duress to help Baum, an exclusion requested by defense attorneys on the grounds that she pleaded guilty.

Pullan also wondered whether the defendant could be described as a white racist. He decided to allow some statements relevant to the prosecution but to exclude other aspects of white supremacy from the evidence.

The judge also ruled that the two victims could not be referred to as “children” or “children” by witnesses or lawyers at the trial, ruling that one of the victims was 18 years old and the other was only a month before he turned 18. said they should be referred to as “young adults” or “young people” instead of son and daughter.

On Friday morning, the court examined defense attorneys’ allegations that prosecutors acted unfairly and made mistakes in law enforcement. The defense alleged, among other things, statements made by the Utah County District Attorney and the Utah Sheriff’s Office to the media could create prejudice against Baum on a jury; that prosecutors entered into a plea agreement with Henderson that forced them to stick to the same story and value “consistency before truth”; and that the prosecutors did not investigate any evidence that could be exculpatory.

The defense moved to disqualify the entire Utah County Attorney’s Office from the case “to avoid the appearance of inappropriateness”.

Prosecutors discussed the claims made against them, arguing that they did not believe there was a problem in the sheriff’s office before the comments in question were made and that the sheriff’s office has since provided training to those involved. They also said that they had done their duty to examine evidence and that they were under no obligation to seek evidence.

The judge has not yet decided whether the charges will be sanctioned because of the charges brought against them by the defense lawyers.

The court also granted a motion to set aside a subpoena filed with KSL, which, among other things, asked for the names of anyone who commented on KSL’s website. The defense argued that the subpoena would help find jury members who were not prejudiced in the case based on what they read on the news. Prosecutors argued that there was no law allowing lawyers to subpoena information through a jury.

David Leavitt initially said he would seek the death penalty for Baum but withdrew in September to the horror of some of the victims’ family members.

The jury trial was scheduled to begin on January 18, 2022, but was canceled after both parties agreed to delay. A status conference will take place on Monday at which the court can set new dates for the process.


similar posts

More stories that might interest you

Comments are closed.