Utah Teen Who Helped Friend Hang Herself — and Filmed Suicide — Pleads Guilty
Tyerell Przybycien will be sentenced in December, and faces between five years to life in prison for helping Jchandra Brown hang herself
A Utah man originally charged with murder for helping a 16-year-old girl hang herself and filming the suicide pleaded guilty to lesser charges this week, but still could be sent to prison for life, PEOPLE confirms.
Tyerell Przybycien, 19, appeared before a judge Tuesday, pleading guilty to first-degree felony child abuse homicide.
A courts spokesman tells PEOPLE Przybycien also pleaded guilty to an additional child pornography charge. Detectives found the incriminating files on his cellphone as part of their investigation into the May 2017 hanging death of 16-year-old Jchandra Brown.
Przybycien’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 7. According to state mandates, he faces a minimum sentence of five years but the judge has the discretion to send Przybycien away for the rest of his life.
Prosecutors said that Przybycien purchased the rope that Brown used to kill herself. They also said he tied the noose for her, attached it to a tree and provided a stool for her to stand on.
The criminal complaint against Przybycien said he was fascinated with death and expressed excitement about aiding in the girl’s suicide, sending a text to a friend exclaiming: “[It’s] like getting away with murder!”
Under the terms of Przybycien’s plea deal, prosecutors dropped tampering charges as well as a single count of failure to report a dead body.
Prosecutors say Brown would not have ended her own life on May 5, 2017, without Przybycien’s assistance.
Brown was found dead by a turkey hunter on May 6 near Maple Lake in Spanish Fork Canyon. She was hanging from a noose tied to a tree.
Next to Brown’s body were two grocery bags, containing receipts for the rope and aerosol air duster, as well as her phone and a handwritten note saying to watch the video on her phone for answers as to what happened.
Przybycien was found on a nearby trail crying.
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In the video recovered by police, recorded by Przybycien, Brown could be seen standing on a rock and a piece of wood, defense attorney Neil Skousen said in a previous interview with PEOPLE. Przybycien’s voice can be heard from behind the camera and then, moments later, Brown inhales the aerosol air duster while wearing the noose.
The video shows Brown giggling and then losing consciousness because of the aerosol. Brown then appears to fall and, as her body hangs, Przybycien continues to film while speaking to her, including saying, “Thumbs up if you’re okay.”
The video ends with Przybycien saying, “I guess I’ll just leave this here now.”
Police said Przybycien told them Brown confided in him months earlier about wanting to kill herself and in the hours before her death, Przybycien said he picked Brown up from work and drove her to two different stores to purchase the air duster and rope used to tie the noose.
PEOPLE was unable to reach Przybycien’s lawyer for comment.
Suicide Prevention: What to Know
Experts say some common warning signs of suicide include discussing a desire to die or feeling anxious or hopeless, like a burden, or trapped or in pain; withdrawing from others; extreme mood swings, including anger and recklessness; and abnormal sleep patterns (sleeping too much or too little).
Many suicides have multiple causes and are not triggered by one event, according to experts, who underline that suicidal crises can be overcome with help. Where mental illness is a factor, it can be treated.
Reaching out to those in need is a simple and effective preventative measure, experts say.