Ex-convict pleads guilty to killing University of Utah student

In this Oct. 31, 2017, file photo, Austin Boutain, who pleaded guilty Wednesday in the fatal shooting of University of Utah student Chenwei Guo, is led out of the University of Utah Department of Public Safety in Salt Lake City. | Photo by Spenser Heaps/The Deseret News via Associated Press, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An ex-convict pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing a University of Utah student from China using a gun stolen after another slaying.

Austin Boutain, 24, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the plea agreement that allowed him to avoid the death penalty. He pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping charges.

Austin Boutain is led into the courtroom during a hearing Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, in Salt Lake City. | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

He and his wife were charged with hatching a carjacking plot that led to the October 2017 death of Chenwei Guo, whose parents live in Beijing and were devastated over the death of their only son at age 23.

He “was a perfect son to them,” said prosecutor Chou Chou Collins.

Boutain stood in the courtroom shackled, surrounded by guards. He also pleaded guilty to attacking another inmate and damaging a sprinkler in jail.

“I know sorry doesn’t mean much, but I am truly sorry,” he said.

His wife Kathleen Boutain, 24, has been charged with criminal solicitation, theft and other counts. She has yet to enter a plea.

They were drifters who fled to Utah after cutting the throat of Mitchell Ingle, 63, in Golden, Colorado, in a plan to steal his trailer home, authorities said.

Law enforcement officers search the hills near the mouth of Red Butte Canyon, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in Salt Lake City for the suspect in a fatal carjacking attempt near the University of Utah. The suspect, Austin Boutain, was taken into custody later that day. | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

After Ingle’s death, they drove his truck to Salt Lake City, ditched it and set up camp in a canyon near the university campus, police said.

There, they decided to find a car, force the driver to drive to Tennessee, using the driver’s money to fund the trip before killing the person, according to charging documents.

After hours of looking for potential victims, Kathleen Boutain got frustrated and left, prosecutors said.

Austin Boutain walked up to Guo’s car and knocked on the window to ask if he had seen her. When Gou, who was with a female friend, didn’t answer, Boutain “became enraged” and fired at the car until the gun was empty, documents state. Guo was fatally struck in the neck.

The woman escaped and Boutain ran away, setting off a manhunt in the foothills near Salt Lake City. He eluded police for hours by crawling on his belly through thick underbrush and circling back to the city, authorities said.

This undated photo shows ChenWei Guo, who was shot and killed in Salt Lake City during a carjacking plot in October 2017. | Photo courtesy of the University of Utah via Associated Press, St. George News

He was caught when an alert librarian spotted him at the downtown library.

The couple has also been charged with murder and other counts in Colorado, though it’s not clear when they’ll face those charges. The two states are still negotiating whether Austin Boutain would be brought to Colorado following his Utah sentencing or would have to first complete his sentence there, said Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for Utah prosecutor Peter Weir.

Austin Boutain’s criminal history includes drug, car theft and weapons charges dating to when he was a juvenile. He was released from an Alabama prison in spring 2017.

Written by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press.

Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody in Denver contributed to this story.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • LunchboxHero September 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Can we just assume that anyone with face tattoos should be in prison?

  • Kilroywashere September 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Ok L.B. , I am not trolling you. But you sure
    see incarceration as the solution to the world. In this case, don’t go to New Zealand whatever you do. You would have to set up prison camps for the Maori and the economic impact would be devastating . Yes Im being sarcastic. However based on what this guy has done, I greatly disagree with your analysis. Why should society waste mlllions of dollars to incarcerate this human being for life when that money could be used to save the lives of others. In this case, where it is a slam dunk regarding his guilt for the absutely horrendous crimes he committed, he should be put to death, regardless of tats.

    • Chris September 13, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      What makes you so sure that violent criminal behavior is not a “disease” like drug addiction?

  • Kilroywashere September 13, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    I’m not sure Chris. Perhaps there are tiny parasites like those that exist in the guts of infected cats that can cross the blood brain barrier into a mouse, affecting its cognitive function and creating a euphoria when it smells cat urine. Or for that matter inter dimensional entities that function like parasites and influence human awareness like the Matrix series, or classic demons from a religious context. So the answer has to be based on Science from the point of view of social justice. Addiction is a disease and in tbe case of opiod addicts amongst others can be treated. Ibogaine clinics exist in Mexico and Canada. On the other hand can criminal behavior be treated. And do prisons really work at rehabilitation, or are they truly just a form of punishment, or a method of isolating a dangerous individual that is either psychopathic, or sociopathic at best, to protect society at large. In the specific case above, this guy has a proven track record of killing people, as well as violence in prison. If a
    our judicial system wasn’t flawed, the death penalty would be the best solution for such individuals unless we had unlimited funds to incarcerate for life. Since we have a multi trillion dollar deficit, the millions saved from letting this guy exist could rehab countless drug addicts and save lives by reducing infant mortality rates. Hope that answers your question. Putting drug addicts in jail is not the answer. Do your homework on that one, if you are interested in the topic. Drug dealers are another story.

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