Jerrod Baum trial enters week two; victims’ families take stand
SALT LAKE CITY — The trial for Jerrod Baum dove into week two Monday, as family members of the two teens he’s accused of killing — Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson and Riley Powell — took the stand.
The State’s key witness, Baum’s ex-girlfriend Morgan Lewis, also took the stand again as prosecutors set out to prove she’s a credible witness.
Lewis, who said she witnessed Baum kill then 17-year-old Breezy and 18-year-old Powell in December 2017, was not originally forthcoming with police during the investigation.
She has described watching Baum throw the young couple’s bodies down a mineshaft, then forcing her to bathe in bleach and burning her clothing in a barrel to destroy evidence.
The defense has argued Lewis made inconsistent statements, and in court Monday, there was discussion about the defense suggesting that Lewis was coerced or influenced by police during their interviews of her.
Prosecutors set out to rebut that claim, playing several recordings from those interviews while Lewis was on the stand. She then clarified that she gave those statements uncoerced, saying she was not promised a plea bargain if she told detectives what happened.
“I wanted them to know what happened. I wanted them to know where Riley and Breezy were. The police had come and raided our house and left, and didn’t find anything so they moved on — like, he got away with it, and I was not okay with that,” Lewis said. “And I felt a lot of guilt and shame. I wanted those families to know where their teenagers were. I didn’t want them to sit in that hole forever.”
For the latter half of the day, Breezy and Riley’s family members took the stand. Electronic media coverage of victim’s families in court is prohibited.
Those who came up to the witness stand answered questions about the two teens, their relationships with the teens, and the days leading up to Breezy and Riley’s disappearance just before New Year’s Eve in 2017.
There were also questions directed at family members about the search for the two after they went missing, and how they were discovered.
Court then went into recess for the evening, where it will continue Tuesday.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
Baum could face life in prison if convicted.
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