Woman testifies against ex-boyfriend in killing of Utah teens

The bodies of Riley Powell and Brelynn "Breezy" Otteson, both 18, were recovered from the Tintic Standard Mine in Dividend, Utah, undated | Photos of Powell and Otteson courtesy of Amanda Hunt, St. George News

PROVO (AP) — The former girlfriend of a Utah man accused of killing a teenage couple testified that she witnessed their deaths and the hiding of their bodies in a mine shaft.

Morgan Henderson testified in a Provo courtroom Wednesday during the preliminary hearing for Jerrod Baum, who is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson and 18-year-old Riley Powell.

Henderson, 35, said that Powell and Otteson visited her at Baum’s residence in December 2017. She said she was not allowed to invite people to the house, and Baum had caught the couple there.

Baum tied the couple up and drove Powell’s Jeep outside Eureka, she said.

“I didn’t know why he was there, and I didn’t know why they were in the back of the car,” Henderson said. “I felt very disoriented. I felt scared. It was kind of dreamlike.”

Baum later stopped the Jeep and pulled the couple out, cutting the ropes binding their feet, Henderson said. They walked to the mine shaft, and Baum pushed her and Otteson to their knees in what she described as an “execution style” pose.

Baum stabbed Powell multiple times and then used the knife on Otteson, Henderson said. He then threw their bodies into the mine.

“I kept thinking: ‘I need to run, I need to get out of here, this is bad, I’m going to die here,'” Henderson said. “But I couldn’t move. I felt this intense guilt like this is happening because of me.”

Henderson had agreed to cooperate with authorities and testify as part of plea agreement. She pleaded guilty to 10 counts of obstruction of justice and was sentenced to three years in jail.

Baum’s defense attorney questioned Henderson’s credibility during cross-examination, challenging her memory of certain details.

The judge will decide if there is enough evidence for trial after the hearing concludes.

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