Utah Man Convicted of Murder for Killing Teen Couple in Mine Shaft, Forcing Girlfriend to Watch

Jerrod Baum, 45, was convicted of two counts of aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping. He will be sentenced June 1

Photo: Justice For Breezy And Riley/Facebook

After more than a month of testimony and three days of deliberations, a jury found a Utah man guilty of kidnapping and murdering two teens whose bodies were found in a mine shaft in 2018.

Jerrod Baum, 45, was convicted of two counts of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a body and one count of obstruction of justice. His sentencing is scheduled for June 1.

More than four years ago, Brelynne "Breezy" Otteson, 17, and Riley Powell, 18, were traveling from Toole, Utah, to Eureka when they disappeared. Their Jeep was found abandoned, and police soon suspected foul play, local TV station KUTV reported.

On Mar. 28, 2018, a search team located the bodies inside an abandoned mine shaft near Eureka. Hours later, Baum was arrested and charged, the station reported.

"It's long overdue, but we did it, we did it, the state did it. We're here and we got justice for the kids," Otteson's aunt Amanda Davis told KUTV.


A charging document and probable cause affidavit obtained by PEOPLE stated Baum kidnapped the teen couple after they visited Baum's residence, which he shared with his girlfriend, 34-year-old Morgan Henderson.

Henderson told investigators that Baum forbade her from having "guy friends." After Henderson thought the teenagers had left the house, Baum took her outside and she saw Otteson and Powell in the back of Baum's Jeep, where prosecutors say their hands and feet were bound and their mouths covered with duct tape, according to allegations in the affidavit and charging document.

Baum made Henderson get into the Jeep with him and he drove to the Tintic Standard Mine, the documents allege. The tape at the teenagers' feet was cut so they could walk up to the mine, says Sheriff's Sgt. Cannon.

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"Brelynne was forced to kneel near the open mine pit and witness the beating of her boyfriend, Riley Powell, and his stabbing, before she had her throat cut and was also thrown into the open mine," Henderson told investigators, according to the court documents.

At the time, Deputy Utah County Attorney Chad Grunander described the teenagers' deaths as "heinous, depraved murders."

Baum had originally faced a possible death sentence, but Utah County Attorney David Leavitt decided against it, the Deseret News reported.

Bill Powell, Riley's dad, said the family is hoping for two sentences of life without parole. He told the newspaper that he felt "happy" when the guilty verdicts were announced.

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