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Jerrod Baum sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

Jun 9, 2022, 6:39 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 2:19 pm

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)

(KSL TV)

PROVO, Utah — Jerrod Baum was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday by Judge Derek Pullan at the Provo 4th District Courthouse.

Pullan sentenced Baum to two counts of life in prison for both the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated murder counts. The four counts will run consecutively. 

For the other counts against him, Baum was given concurrent sentences by Pullan that follow statutory guidelines.

Baum was found guilty on April 15, 2022, on two counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of desecration of a body, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of possession of a weapon by a restricted person.

Prosecutors charged Baum with first-degree murder for the deaths of Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson in 2017.  They said Baum beat and kidnapped the couple after they visited his then-girlfriend, Morgan Lewis Henderson.

Investigators believe Baum forced Henderson and Otteson to watch as he severely beat and stabbed Powell. Baum then pushed his body down the Tintic Standard Mine.

Throughout the case, prosecutors relied on the testimony of Baum’s ex-girlfriend, Morgan Lewis Henderson who claimed Baum was abusive and controlling. 

By the end of the trial, a jury believed Henderson’s testimony. And 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,” 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.”

Otteson and Henderson disappeared in the days after Christmas in 2017. Their bodies were found the following March in an abandoned mine shaft in Utah’s west desert.

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Jerrod Baum sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole