Jerrod William Baum of Utah convicted of murdering two teenagers

Jerrod William Baum.

Jerrod William Baum.

A Utah man was found Friday guilty of murdering a young couple because they appeared to be speaking to his then-girlfriend.

Jerrod William Baum46, is due to be sentenced on June 1 for murder Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson17 and Riley Powell18, acc The Salt Lake Grandstand.

Utah Deputy District Attorney Christina Scott presented the jury with two possible motives.

First, the prosecutor suggested that Baum was angry with the couple for speaking to the key witness, his girlfriend at the time Morgan Henderson Lewis. In particular, Baum was furious with Powell’s presence when the two teenage victims came to visit on December 29, 2017, according to authorities cited in a KSL Report.

“I told you you can’t have male friends,” Baum told Lewis, according to this theory.

Baum was accused of tying the teens’ hands and feet, taping their mouths shut and driving them away in a Jeep – with his then-girlfriend Lewis in the passenger seat.

Otteson said she was pregnant and asked to be untied, but Baum let her and Lewis watch as he beat and stabbed Powell before pushing the young man down a mine shaft according to this version of events.

“Goodbye, Riley, you piece of shit,” Baum said while killing Powell, according to authorities quoted in the tribune Report.

Baum then reportedly slit Otteson’s throat and pushed her down the mine shaft as well.

Baum and Lewis initially told investigators they didn’t know the whereabouts of the missing couple, but investigators suspected foul play after finding Powell’s Jeep abandoned with two flat tires.

Lewis eventually admitted the teens were at her home, but she didn’t say Baum killed the couple until authorities arrested her on drug and weapons charges. She then reportedly led authorities to the bodies.

The second possible motive, according to Scott, is that Baum was also interested in a $500,000 insurance payment that Lewis said he received tribune. Baum tried to set up a joint bank account with her.

Judge Derek Pullan Restrictions imposed on whether prosecutors can call Baum a white supremacist. He only admitted statements that were relevant to the prosecution.

Baum’s defender Dallas Young reportedly attacked the state’s case, saying authorities had “very little physical evidence, very little forensic evidence” beyond Lewis’ testimony.

Young said Lewis had a history of mental health issues and drug use. The defense also found that Lewis initially lied about knowing the whereabouts of the teens’ bodies and only led investigators to the remains after he was arrested on drug and weapons charges.

Lewis’s guilty plea to obstruction of justice was a red flag, Young said.

The defense attorney also suggested Lewis could have remembered more details than she did, allegedly showing the key witness wasn’t telling the whole truth.

Prosecutor Scott argued that Lewis could not remember some details because of post-traumatic stress disorder. As for her initial lies to authorities, Lewis was afraid of Baum, who threatened her and her son, the prosecutor claimed.

“She had seen him kill two people, so she decided it would be best to become his number one fan,” Scott said.

The jury convicted Baum of two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of desecration of a corpse and one count each of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and obstruction of justice.

[Screenshot via WTVT]

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James Brien

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