LOCAL NEWS

Utah County double murder case now in the hands of the jury

Apr 13, 2022, 5:04 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2022, 12:14 am

PROVO, Utah — After more than a month of testimony, a double murder case in Utah County is now in the hands of a jury.

On Wednesday, the jury heard several hours of closing arguments from the prosecution and defense in the case against Jerrod Baum, who is accused of killing 18-year-old Riley Powell and 17-year-old Breezy Otteson in December 2017.

A few months later, the teens’ bodies were found in an abandoned mine shaft near Eureka, Utah.

TIMELINE: Investigation, trial in the killings of Breezy Otteson and Riley Powell

Jerrod Baum, 45, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of desecration of a dead body, obstruction of justice, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

The families of Riley and Breezy say they hope the jury quickly returns a guilty verdict.

“I hope that does happen and they come back with the verdict that we would like, but you never know,” said Bill Powell, Riley’s dad. “All we can do is hope and pray.”

“Just justice for these kids, that’s all we wanted. And we’re here. It’s the 11th hour and we hope that the jury comes back and gives us that verdict, but all we can do is have hope and faith,” said Amanda Davis, Breezy’s aunt.

During closing arguments, the prosecution urged the jury to convict Baum while the defense told the jury that the testimony from Baum’s girlfriend at the time of the teens’ murders isn’t reliable and doesn’t match evidence.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Jerrod Baum kidnapped Riley and Breezy, murdered Riley and Breezy, threw their bodies in a mine shaft. We ask that you find him guilty,” said Deputy Utah County Attorney Christine Scott.

“She has proven herself to be unworthy of your belief,” said Defense Attorney Dallas Young. “You cannot believe her and you cannot be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Jerrod Baum is innocent and you must acquit.”

If convicted, Baum could face life behind bars.

The family says they are upset that the death penalty was taken off the table by the Utah County Attorney.

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Utah County double murder case now in the hands of the jury