CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Jerrod Baum found guilty of murder, kidnapping of two teens in 2017

Apr 15, 2022, 3:13 PM | Updated: 6:52 pm

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FILE: Jerrod Baum appears for a hearing in Provo on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Baum is accused of killing two people and leaving their bodies in an abandoned mine. Photo: Rick Egan, Deseret News.

PROVO, Utah — The jury has found Jerrod Baum guilty on all eight counts he’s charged with in connection with the stabbing and killing of Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson in late 2017, then dumping their bodies in an abandoned mine.

Jerrod Baum charged

Baum was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of desecration of a body, one obstruction of justice, and one count possession of a weapon by a restricted person.

Throughout the case, prosecutors relied heavily on the testimony of Baum’s ex-girlfriend, Morgan Henderson.

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 of, and he became violently jealous when Powell and Otteson came over to visit.

In the end, the jury believed Lewis’ testimony, and they agreed that the state proved several aggravating factors beyond a reasonable doubt.  Judge Derek Pullan read the jury’s findings.

“The homicide was committed for the purpose of preventing a witness from testifying,” Judge Pullan read.  “The homicide was committed for the purpose of preventing a person from providing evidence or participating in any legal proceedings or official investigation.”

‘A huge weight was lifted’

Outside the courthouse, there was a big smile on the face of Bill Powell, Riley Powell’s father.  He said he had been waiting a very long time for this verdict.

“I don’t know if we are allowed to say we are happy, but we are happy,” he said.

Breezy Otteson’s aunt, Amanda Davis, says it has been a tense four years. However, when she heard the first guilty verdict, she felt like a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders.

“It has been long overdue, but we did it.  We did it, the state did it, we all did it as a family.  We did it,” Davis said.  “We’re here and we got justice for the kids.”

She admitted she was nervous when the jury started their deliberations. And she became even more worried as the deliberations went on.  However, she says the jury had to sift through several charges and consider each one, separately.

Davis said, “It was a five-week trial, so, it took a few days.  There is so much evidence.”

As the case now enters the sentencing phase, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt says the state plans to seek life without the possibility of parole for Baum.

The sentencing for Baum is set for June 1.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Jerrod Baum found guilty of murder, kidnapping of two teens in 2017