Jury begins their deliberations in the murder trial against Jerrod Baum

Apr 13, 2022, 8:20 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:20 am

FILE: Jerrod Baum's defense attorney told a judge his client deserved a retrial based on comments made to the defense by a juror, after Baum was found guilty, something prohibited by Utah law. (KSL TV) (File photo: KSL TV)


PROVO, Utah — After more than four years of waiting and a month worth of courtroom testimony, the murder trial against Jerrod Baum is finally in the hands of a jury.  Baum is accused of stabbing and killing Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson in late 2017, then dumping their bodies in an abandoned mine.

Baum murder trial

Throughout the case, prosecutors relied heavily on the testimony of Baum’s ex-girlfriend, Morgan Lewis.  She claims Baum was abusive and controlling, even forcing her to go through some sort of blood sacrifice to warn her that he would kill her loved ones if she ever left him.  Lewis also claimed Baum refused to let her have male friends that he didn’t approve, and he became violently jealous when Powell and Otteson came over to visit.

Ex-girlfriend claimed to be too afraid to come forward

Prosecutors say Lewis was forced to watch as Baum walked Powell and Otteson to the opening of the Tintic Standard Number Two Mine, accused Powell of having sex with Lewis, then stabbed him several times.  Otteson reportedly watched, sobbing and pleading for her life.  However, Baum allegedly slit Otteson’s throat after reassuring her that everything would be fine.

Deputy Utah County Attorney Christine Scott told jurors Lewis was terrified to come forward, convinced her son’s life was in danger.  Scott claimed Baum threatened to kill Lewis if she even cried about the murders.

Scott said, “He takes a garrote, puts it around her throat, pulls and says, ‘The next time you think about crying about Riley, you think about whether or not you want to see your son ever again.”

In March of 2018, Lewis was pulled over for speeding and arrested for possible drug and weapons violations.  While speaking with investigators, she reportedly said she felt “tremendous guilt” about the murders and told police what happened at the mine.  Scott refuted the claims that Lewis was being coached by investigators and telling them what they wanted to hear.

“Morgan was telling them stuff that the officers did not know before that statement.  Every officer that testified, and Morgan, said, ‘We weren’t telling her what happened.  She was telling us,’” Scott said.

Defense attorneys say Lewis can’t be trusted

However, defense attorney Dallas Young claimed the prosecution relied too heavily on Lewis’ testimony, adding that the jury has plenty of reasons not to believe her.

Young said, “The first one would be the lies she told to law enforcement officers.  Second, the lies she has told to prosecutors.”

Young claimed Lewis had been dealing with addiction and mental health issues, saying her perceptions of the events were skewed.  Plus, he claimed Lewis was the only one who connected Baum to the murders.

“You have heard evidence from Morgan, and Morgan alone, that implicates Mr. Baum.  Nobody else has presented any evidence, whether it’s testimony, physical evidence, whether it’s forensic analysis… nothing,” Young said.

Young also made the claim that Lewis could have been behind the murders and planted evidence to implicate Baum.  However, during the rebuttal argument, Deputy Utah County Attorney Ryan McBride refuted that idea. He said Lewis only came forward after being pressured by police.

McBride said, “She wasn’t trying to frame him.  If she was, she would have done a better job of framing him, and she would have come forward earlier.”

Prosecutors also played recordings of phone calls between Baum and a new girlfriend. During which he reportedly laughed about people taking down and destroying signs saying, “Justice for Riley and Breezy.”


Related articles:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

bodies found in West Jordan home...

Mark Jones

Woman barricades herself inside West Jordan home, then arrested

A woman has barricaded herself inside a West Jordan home, according to police.

2 days ago

Thirty six year old Manuel Burciaga-Perea was extradited from Mexico City to Taylorsville, Utah aft...

Waverly Golden

Suspect in 2021 murder of radio host extradited to Utah from Mexico City

Thirty six year old Manuel Burciaga-Perea was extradited from Mexico City to Taylorsville, Utah after he fled the country following the murder of a popular Latina radio host Gabby Ramos in 2021. 

6 days ago

Lori Vallow Daybell stands and listens as the jury's verdict is read at the Ada County Courthouse i...


Lori Daybell’s defense team files for new murder trial

The legal team for convicted murderer Lori Vallow Daybell filed paperwork Thursday, citing three reasons for a new trial under Idaho law.

6 days ago

A car crashed into a home, killing a man Thursday, May 25,2023. (Jay Hancock/KSL TV)...

Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio and Shelby Lofton, KSL TV

Man killed in West Valley crash was visiting elderly neighbor

Neighbors told KSL TV this was a quiet neighborhood, until yesterday when it turned into chaos. Thursday night, a 15-year-old in a stolen car crashed into a house, killing a man.

6 days ago

North Ogden police are trying to determine why a vehicle left the roadway on 2600 North and ended u...

Mark Jones

Car leaves roadway in North Ogden, crashes onto residential property

North Ogden Police are trying to determine why a vehicle left the roadway at 2600 North on Friday and crashed into a residential property.

7 days ago

Unified Police say a 60-year-old man suffered a heart attack Friday, while driving in Kearns. He lo...

Mark Jones

Suffering a medical condition, driver crashes into Kearns home

A 60-year-old man lost control of his vehicle Friday afternoon after suffering a heart attack and crashed into several power boxes and a home in Kearns.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Jury begins their deliberations in the murder trial against Jerrod Baum