Utah Man Allegedly Slit Teen Couple's Throats Before Throwing Bodies Down Mine Shaft
A judge is weighing whether Jerrod Baum, 41, will stand trial for allegedly murdering two teens in a fit of jealous rage
The Utah man accused of murdering two teens in a jealous rage before throwing their bodies down a mineshaft allegedly told the sobbing girl, ‘It’s OK, darling,” before he killed her by cutting her throat.
The preliminary hearing for Jerrod Baum, 41, took place in a Provo court room, with his ex-girlfriend Morgan Lewis, 35, providing damning testimony against him, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Baum, 41, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder and six other felonies for allegedly fatally stabbing Riley Powell, 18, and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson, in front of Lewis before throwing their bodies into a mineshaft on Dec. 30, 2017, local Fox affiliate KSTU reports.
Before he allegedly killed Otteson, he made her watch as he repeatedly stabbed her young boyfriend with a knife in the groin and then in the throat, say authorities.
During the first two days of testimony to determine if there is enough evidence for Baum to stand trial on the charges — which could bring a possible death sentence if he is convicted — gruesome details of the teens’ killings emerged.
The alleged crime unfolded when Baum allegedly became furious when he found the teens hanging out with Lewis, since he had forbidden her from spending time with any male friends, she said in court, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
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Lewis, who was charged with obstructing justice in the case, is testifying against Baum as part of an agreement with prosecutors and will be released from jail after Baum’s case is finished, court records show, the Deseret News reports.
On Wednesday she explained how Baum allegedly flew into a rage when he found her smoking marijuana with Powell and Otteson at their home in Mammoth on Dec. 29, according to a probable cause statement filed at the time of his arrest, the Deseret News reports.
She said Baum then allegedly bound the teens’ hands and feet and duct-taped their mouths and put them in Powell’s Jeep, the Deseret News reports.
After ordering Lewis into the Jeep, Baum allegedly drove them all to an abandoned mine shaft in the Utah desert near Eureka, according to the probable cause statement.
Carrying a knife in his hand, Baum, who Lewis described as eerily calm, allegedly ordered her and Otteson to get down on their knees in an “execution-style” pose, she testified.
When Otteson started to cry, Powell asked Baum if he could kiss her.
That’s when Baum did the unthinkable, she testified, allegedly hitting Powell and then repeatedly stabbing him with the knife before slitting his throat.
When the boy crumpled to the ground, Baum allegedly waved to him and said, “Goodbye Riley,” and addressed him using an expletive.
With tears running down her face, Otteson begged Baum to spare her life, telling him she wouldn’t tell a soul what she had just witnessed, Lewis testified.
Taking Otteson in his arms, Baum held her and said softly, “It’s OK, darling,” and then slit her throat, Lewis alleged.
Baum then allegedly threw the teens’ bodies into the cavernous 1800-foot hole, which landed on a ledge about 100 feet down, as Lewis cried, she said.
After Baum allegedly killed the teens, Lewis testified, “He looked manic. He looked overjoyed. He’s got this huge grin on his face like he’s enjoying himself. He did later laugh about it and said that it was like lambs to the slaughter.”
Baum’s attorney did not immediately return PEOPLE’s call for comment.