‘Double-Edge Sword’: Families of Murdered Teens React to Plea Deal
Oct 5, 2018, 6:43 PM | Updated: Oct 6, 2018, 1:07 am
PROVO, Utah – The families of two murdered teenagers say it was a difficult yet necessary step to allow a plea deal for the girlfriend of the man accused of killing the young couple.
Morgan Henderson, 35, pleaded guilty in a Provo courtroom on Friday to 10 counts of obstruction of justice. She had originally faced more than two dozen counts for obstructing justice. She also agreed to testify against her boyfriend.
Prosecutors say she lied to police about the December 2017 deaths of 18-year-old Riley Powell and 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, who lived in Eureka. Their bodies were discovered months later in an abandoned mine.
“We had airplanes, helicopters, horses, hundreds of people looking for these kids and she’s just sitting back there knowing exactly where they were and not saying a word,” said Riley’s adoptive father, Bill Powell.
As part of the plea deal, Henderson “is ordered to completely and honestly assist and cooperate with the State of Utah in the investigation and prosecution of the case against Jerrod Baum,” the sentencing documents state.
Baum, 41, is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated murder and desecration of a body in the stabbing deaths of Powell and Otteson.
In addition, Baum faces one count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a third degree felony, and obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.
Henderson’s court statement goes on to say that she witnessed Baum take Powell and Otteson while they were bound and gagged and drive them to the mine “where he murdered them and then threw their bodies into the mine shaft.”
“I feel like she deserves more than what she got,” said Nikka Powell, the younger sister of Riley Powell.
If Henderson does not comply with the terms of the plea, the agreement states that “the Court would revoke probation and the suspended sentence of 1-15 years at the prison, consecutive, for each count will be imposed.”
“It’s bitter sweet,” Ottenson’s aunt Amanda Hunt said about the plea deal. “It’s a double-edge sword but at least now we have the closure from Morgan and we’re on to Jerrod.”