Family of couple killed, dumped in mine want death penalty for suspect
PROVO, Utah – Jerrod Baum’s feet and hands were shackled as he made another court appearance in Provo Thursday morning. Baum is accused of kidnapping and killing Eureka couple Breezy Otteson, 17, and Riley Powell, 18.
Thursday’s court proceeding took only 3 and a half minutes. Baum’s lawyer asked to waive the preliminary hearing and schedule a waiver hearing in three to four months. A date was set for August 1st.
The speediness of Thursday’s court appearance does not mean it’s going to be a fast trial. It means just the opposite.
“You watch TV and you watch law and order and these things happen in forty minutes or whatever, but in reality these types of cases take some time,” said Utah County District Attorney Chad Gruander.
Family members of the victims say they’re prepared to be present in court no matter how long the case drags on. “Just going day by day,” said Nikka Powell, Riley’s 17-year-old sister.
Gruander says this case could take even more time to prosecute because capital punishment is on the table. Gruander is looking into several factors to decide if the state wants to pursue the death penalty, including speaking with the victims’ families. Those at court Thursday said they are on board.
“He took my brother’s life why not take his?” said Nikka Powell.
Riley Powell would have turned 19 years old on Saturday. “I wish he was here to celebrate with us,” Nikka said. Family members of both Riley and Breezy are throwing him a birthday party on Saturday in Eureka. They have invited members of the the public.
“We continue to keep their, the thought of them alive and their story alive with who they are and not what happens to them,” said Breezy’s aunt Amanda Hunt.
The bodies of Breezy and Riley were found in an abandoned mine shaft in March. They had been missing since late December 2017. Baum is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of abuse or desecration of a body, plus possession of a weapon by a restricted person. His attorney declined to speak with reporters Thursday.
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