LOCAL NEWS

Mental evaluation ordered for Idaho man charged with murder in shooting death of his pregnant wife

Dec 5, 2023, 6:23 AM

Jeremy Albert Best is accused of killing his pregnant wife and fleeing with their infant child, wh...

Jeremy Albert Best is accused of killing his pregnant wife and fleeing with their infant child, who was later found dead.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man accused of killing his pregnant wife and fleeing with their infant child who was later found dead will be given a mental health evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial, a magistrate judge said Monday.

Jeremy Albert Best, of Victor, Idaho, is being held without bond, charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say he shot and killed his wife, Kali Randall Best, on Thursday. She was about 6 months pregnant. The second murder charge is for the death of the fetus.

Jeremy Best, 48, was arrested Saturday after hunters reported a man in a sleeping bag on the side of the road in eastern Idaho. The body of the couple’s 10-month-old son Zeke was found nearby.

The defendant appeared in court via video from jail. He seemed distraught at times during the short hearing, frequently covering his face and tugging on his hair. He was muted for much of the proceeding, but at one point interrupted the judge to ask what charges he faced and later to say, “that’s not my attorney,” referring to his court-appointed defender.

When the murder charges were read, he covered his face and appeared to cry.

Prosecuting attorney Bailey Smith asked that Best be held without bond, saying the deaths were arguably the most horrific crimes committed in recent history in Teton County.

Best has not been charged in the death of 10-month-old Zeke. Investigators are awaiting autopsy results to determine how the child died.

The defendant has not yet had the opportunity to enter a plea, and Magistrate Judge Jason Walker ordered that he be given a mental evaluation to determine if he is competent to assist in his own defense. Best’s court-appointed defense attorney, Jim Archibald, did not immediately respond to voice messages and emails requesting comment.

Best’s first encounter with law enforcement officers on Thursday happened several hours before Kali Randall Best’s death was discovered. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responding to a disturbance found Best walking naked through the Swan Valley General Store just before noon. They called an ambulance that took him to a regional hospital for medical and mental health evaluations, but he was released afterward.

At 11:40 p.m., the Teton County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Best’s home in Victor. When they arrived, they found Kali Jean Randall’s body and issued an Amber alert asking the public to look for baby Zeke, warning that they believed Best to be armed and dangerous.

On Friday, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release with more details about the encounter at the general store, saying they sent Best for evaluation because there was no indication as to whether his behavior “would continue, escalate, pause, change or stop.”

While the sheriff’s office said it didn’t know what happened at the hospital, they credited the staff there for having “appropriately” cared for people with similar issues “to the best of their ability, as much as patients and family members will cooperate.”

Police arrested Best on Saturday after the hunter’s call about a man in a sleeping bag on the roadside about 24 miles (39 kilometers) east of Idaho Falls. Officers located Best’s car in an embankment and found the 10-month-old baby dead at the scene, the office said in a news release.

Kali Randall Best, 38, was a silversmith, making and selling jewelry through her business, Kalico Forest. Its website included occasional posts about her family, pets and her love of the mountains.

“I am made up of tiny summit flowers, pushing through the rocky crust in the most desolate of places. Persistent and beautiful,” she wrote about climbing a mountain last April.

In a statement, Kali Randall Best’s family asked for privacy to process and grieve, EastIdahoNews.com reported on Sunday.

“We thank all of you for walking with us during this time. Our Zeke is now at rest with his loving mama and unborn sibling,” Brian Randall wrote on the family’s behalf.

Prosecutors have not yet said if they intend to seek the death penalty in the case.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Dennis Crandall was a U.S. Secret Service agent for more than 30 years. He spoke to KSL TV on Sunda...

Brianna Chavez

Retired Secret Service Agent discusses swift response during attempted assassination of former President Trump

As shots were fired toward former President Donald Trump Saturday, U.S. Secret Service agents swiftly jumped into action. It's something Dennis Crandall was trained to do for many years.

7 hours ago

Henry Becker took a pretty nontraditional route to graphic design and higher education. He got ther...

Peter Rosen

What being a sniper taught Henry Becker about graphic design and life

Henry Becker took a pretty nontraditional route to graphic design and higher education. He got there, he says, through his experience as a sniper in the Iraq War.

7 hours ago

A new spot to satisfy your sweet tooth has opened up in Pleasant Grove.  (KSL TV)...

KSL TV

The MilkShake Factory opens up in Utah

A new spot to satisfy your sweet tooth has opened up in Pleasant Grove.

9 hours ago

The Deer Springs Fire burning south of Bryce Canyon National Park on July 7. 2024....

Mark Jones

Deer Springs Fire is at 70% contained, according to officials

Utah Fire Info reported Sunday evening that the Deer Springs fire is now 70% contained.

10 hours ago

President Joe Biden speaks, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Rehoboth Beach, Del., addressing news that ...

Emma Keddington, KSL NewsRadio

‘It’s time to cool it down,’ says Biden in the wake of campaign rally shooting

President Joe Biden addressed the country Sunday night, saying there should be no tolerance for any kind of political violence after the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump. 

10 hours ago

Washington County Water Conservancy District has asked residents in Virgin to limit water use after...

KSL.com

Virgin residents asked to limit water use after well failure

Washington County Water Conservancy District has asked residents in Virgin to limit water use after the district's well failed Saturday night.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Mental evaluation ordered for Idaho man charged with murder in shooting death of his pregnant wife