‘I thought I was going to die’ testified a killer’s girlfriend in the Provo 4th District Court on Wednesday while describing the murder of a pair of teens in herpresence in Mammoth, Uta
Jerrod William Baum charged in deaths of Riley Powell, 18, and his 7-year-old girlfriend Brelynne ‘Breezy’ Otteson, in Dec 30, 2017
The alleged killer’s ex-girlfriend, Morgan Henderson, details how she watched in horror as white supremacist ‘bound teenage couple before slitting their throats
Baum, 41, then dumped the bodies of Powell and Otteson down an 1,800-foot mine shaft
Henderson, 35, said Baum became enraged because the teen couple came over to their house to smoke marijuana with her in December 2017
Baum bound the teens and put them in Powell’s Jeep and had Henderson get in the car before he drove them to an abandoned mine shaft in the Utah desert
Henderson said he made her and Otteson watch as he stabbed Powell to death, next he cradled Otteson as she cried, told her it would be ok, and allegedly slit her throat
Their bodies were only found March 2018 after Henderson confessed to police
Baum appeared in court on Wednesday, facing eight charges in the deaths of Breezy and Riley, including aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping
If he is convicted, Baum could face the death penalty
Henderson said Baum became enraged when he found the teens smoking marijuana with her at their home in Mammoth, Utah.
Morgan Lewis, who was known as Morgan Henderson at the time of the murders two years ago, testified for three hours on the stand.
‘I told you you couldn’t have guy friends,’ Henderson recalled Baum telling her on the night of December 30, 2017.
Henderson thought the couple had left, and was surprised when Baum calmed down and pulled a fleece jacket and thin black gloves from her wardrobe.
‘His anger completely turned off, and he was charming,’ Henderson recalled.
But then Baum led her outside, where she saw the two teens tied up in the back of Riley’s Jeep.
‘Jerrod told me to get in the car, and I felt I was scared,’ Henderson said, according to Fox 13 Now.
‘And, I listened to him. I knew that something bad was happening. It wasn’t a normal situation.’
Baum drove the couple and Henderson to an abandoned mine shaft known as Tintic Standard No. 2, near Eureka.
‘I thought I was going to die,’ Henderson told the Provo 4th District Court, according to Desert News.
Henderson said Braum led the group through snow and sagebrush. She recalled Otteson telling Braum she was pregnant and allergic to the sagebrush.
The teen asked if he could untie her hands, which were going numb.
‘No,’ Baum replied. ‘We’re almost there.’
Baum then stopped the group in front of the 1,800-foot open mine shaft.
‘I realized even if we listened, it wasn’t going to end well,’ Henderson told the court.
Henderson said Baum then forced her and Otteson to their knees in an ‘execution style’ pose and made Powell stand in front of them.
‘It felt like we were an audience,’ Henderson recalled, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Otteson began to whimper and cry and Powell asked Baum if he could kiss her. Baum refused.
Henderson thought Baum then began hitting the teen. It was only when she heard Powell cry out ‘I’m dying!’ that she realized Baum was actually stabbing the teen over and over again.
After Powell fell to the ground, Henderson said Baum waved at the teen and said ‘Goodbye Riley, you piece of s**t’.
Powell had been stabbed several times and his throat had been cut, an autopsy report later found.
Henderson said Otteson continued to cry and promised Baum she wouldn’t tell anyone about what she had witnessed.
Baum held Otteson in his arms and told her ‘It’s okay, darling’, Henderson recalled.
Henderson then felt something warm on her leg and realized it was Otteson’s blood – Baum had slit the young girl’s throat, she said.
‘There was so much blood,’ she added.
Henderson testified that Baum then dumped Powell’s body down the open mine before throwing Otteson’s body over as well. They both fell onto a ledge 100 feet down the shaft.
‘Like lambs to the slaughter, they didn’t even fight,’ Henderson said Baum told her.
Baum then began trying to cover up the blood with dirt and told Henderson to stop crying.
‘He looked manic. He looked high. He looked overjoyed,’ she continued. ‘He said the next time I start crying about stupid Riley, I need to think about my little boy and whether I want him to grow up.’
Henderson said Baum bleached and burned their clothes, hid the knife he used in an oil barrel, and put Powell’s keys in random piles of dirt. He also hid the teen’s Jeep.
Authorities questioned the couple after discovering a Facebook message in which Powell agreed to come to Henderson’s home with Otteson the night before the couple disappeared.
Henderson told police the teens had visited her, but that she didn’t know what happened to them afterwards.
Meanwhile, she became consumed with guilt over the murders as the months went on and Otteson and Powell’s families continued to search for them.
Fearing that Baum would hurt her son if she confessed, Henderson said she decided to get high on psychedelic mushrooms and kill herself in the mountains.
‘I had tremendous guilt, I felt responsible,’ Henderson said.
Authorities stopped her for speeding on the way and discovered an ax, rifle, and knives in her car. That’s when Henderson decided to confess.
‘I wanted those families to have closure,’ she said. ‘I wanted them to know what happened.’
She led police to the teen’s bodies and, hours later, Baum was arrested.
He was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, desecration of a dead human body, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.