Trial for man accused murdering Eureka couple begins after 4 years

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Jerrod Baum seems for a listening to in Provo on April 26, 2018. Baum is charged with killing 18-year-old Riley Powell and 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson in December 2017. A jury trial within the case started on Wednesday. (Rick Eagan)

Estimated learn time: 2-3 minutes

PROVO — Greater than 4 years after Riley Powell, 18, and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, 17, had been killed, a jury trial is lastly starting for the person charged with murdering them.

Police discovered the our bodies of Powell and Otteson contained in the Tintic Normal Mine close to Eureka after a monthslong search.

Jerrod Baum, 46, is charged with killing the couple in December 2017. Baum is going through two counts of aggravated homicide and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, first-degree felonies; two counts of desecration of a physique and one depend of possession of a weapon, third-degree felonies; and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.

Baum’s girlfriend, Morgan Henderson, testified in a earlier listening to and informed police that the 2 had been visiting her when Baum got here house, sure them of their Jeep and drove to the mine the place he killed them. She mentioned Baum additionally threatened her. Prosecutors say Baum slit their throats and threw their our bodies down the deserted mine shaft.

Otteson’s aunt, Amanda Davis, has been vocal about in search of the demise penalty for Baum — one thing that the Utah County Lawyer’s Workplace mentioned it deliberate to do. However final 12 months, County Lawyer David Leavitt modified his thoughts and mentioned he will not search the demise penalty in Baum’s case or in any future case.

“Our households have blended feelings immediately because it has been a protracted journey to get to right here immediately. It is not the pursuit of justice as we had hoped because the demise penalty is not being pursued. Nevertheless, after 4 years of ready, we’re greater than prepared to maneuver ahead. Breezy and Riley deserve justice and we have now patiently waited for this time,” Davis mentioned.

“What we have now … discovered is that the demise penalty doesn’t promote neighborhood security. It’s not an efficient deterrent,” Leavitt mentioned in September. “It merely demonstrates our societal desire for retribution over public security.”

Powell and Otteson’s family had been blindsided by Leavitt’s reversal and Davis mentioned then that she was heartbroken.

The Utah Legislature is contemplating a invoice through the present legislative session, HB147, which might finish the demise penalty in Utah, however the invoice didn’t move in a committee assembly on Feb. 14.

Jury choice is anticipated to final every week and a half, in a trial that’s anticipated to final a number of months. Wednesday, potential jurors got a digital introduction to the case from 4th District Choose Derek Pullan. The jurors can be coming into the court docket for consideration over the subsequent week.

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