Man accused of murdering teenage couple had extensive criminal history
Mar 29, 2018, 10:11 PM | Updated: 11:26 pm
UTAH COUNTY — The man accused of murdering a teenage couple and dumping their bodies in a mine had an extensive criminal history that once included an attempted murder charge, according to court records.
When Jerrod William Baum was 15-years-old in 1991, he was charged with attempted murder, aggravated robbery and multiple counts of theft, stemming from a spree in which police accused him of stealing several vehicles and robbing an Orem fast food restaurant at gunpoint.
Investigators, at the time, said Baum fired at workers as they followed him into the parking lot.
Baum ultimately pleaded guilty to four second-degree felony counts of theft.
In 1994, Baum—then an inmate—was charged with assault in connection with a 5-hour riot at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison.
Court records show Baum’s history also includes multiple alleged weapons violations, including one in February, as Riley Powell and Breezy Otteson remained missing.
Wednesday, crews recovered the remains of Powell and Otteson from a mine in a remote corner of Utah County.
A police affidavit alleged that Baum tied up the teens and drove them to the mine, where he killed them with a knife and disposed of their bodies.
The affidavit said Powell and Otteson had visited the home of Baum’s girlfriend, Morgan Henderson, and that Baum had previously told Henderson not to have men in the house when he was not there.
According to the affidavit, Henderson told investigators that Baum said to her the day after the couple’s visit that he knew they had been there, and that “it was too bad because he has never killed an innocent before.”
Baum, according to Henderson’s account to detectives, told his girlfriend “he made Riley suffer but that he felt bad about Brelynne (Breezy) and made it quick and painless.”
Baum was being held Thursday at the Utah County Jail on suspicion of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a human body, witness tampering, obstructing justice and a weapons violation.
Thursday afternoon, family members of the two victims were in disbelief over the details.
“These are just kids, he’s a 41-year-old man,” said Amanda Hunt, Otteson’s aunt. “Regardless, I guess the mentality isn’t there, but you don’t kill kids over jealousy.”
The two families once again expressed hope for justice in the case.
“How could someone be that mad that someone was over there—I mean, what the heck!?!” exclaimed Bill Powell, Riley’s father. “There’s two kids who had their lives ahead of them… gone.”