Woman accused of covering up boyfriend's murders

The girlfriend of a man accused of killing a young Eureka couple was charged Thursday with attempting to cover up the...

Posted: Apr. 6, 2018 8:51 AM
Updated: Apr. 6, 2018 8:51 AM

The girlfriend of a man accused of killing a young Eureka couple was charged Thursday with attempting to cover up the crimes.

Morgan Reannon Henderson, 34, of Mammoth, Juab County, was charged in 4th District Court with two counts of obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony.

The charges mean Henderson avoids being named as an accomplice to the crimes. Under the accomplice statute, Henderson could have been charged with the same crimes as Jerrod Baum, including aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and desecrating a body.

Henderson and Baum, 41, are charged in connection with the killings of Riley Powell, 18, and Brelynne "Breezy" Otteson, 17.

Henderson told police that Baum did not like her having male friends at their house. After Baum learned that the couple had visited Henderson late on the evening of Dec. 29 or after midnight on Dec. 30, he tied up Powell and Otteson, took them to the abandoned Tintic Standard No. 2 mine, slit their throats and thew them down the mine shaft sometime early the next morning, according to charging documents.

Police first interviewed Henderson and Baum on Jan. 9, the charges state. At that time, Henderson "denied any knowledge about the whereabouts of the missing teens," court documents state.

On Jan. 25, Henderson again "denied any knowledge of the missing teens. After being confronted with evidence that she and Riley had arranged to meet at her house that night, however, she admitted they had arrived at the home after midnight, stayed for a short time and left. Denying any further knowledge of their disappearance," according to the charges.

Two months later, on March 24, Henderson was pulled over in Sanpete County and arrested for investigation of drug and weapons charges. The next day while being interviewed at the sheriff's office, she provided a different story.

"She admitted to police that she had withheld knowledge about the disappearance of the teens and that she had in fact been present when they were murdered by her boyfriend Jerrod Baum," according to court documents.

Authorities went to the mine two days later. A camera was lowered into the mine, which is more than 1,500 feet deep. The bodies of the young couple were found on a ledge 100 feet down.

At a press conference earlier this week to announce charges for Baum, Utah County prosecutors said in order to charge Henderson as an accomplice, they would have to prove she was a proactive participant in the crime and that she also had the same mental state as Baum, meaning she acted with the intention of killing Riley and Otteson.

On Wednesday, Henderson was charged in a separate case in Sanpete County with possession of a dangerous weapon, a third-degree felony; three counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon, a class A misdemeanor; driving on a denied license and three counts of drug possession, class B misdemeanors; having an open container in a vehicle and not having insurance, class C misdemeanors; and speeding, an infraction, for her arrest in that county.

An ax, a rifle, knives and two boxes of ammunition were found in the car that Henderson was driving, according to a police affidavit.

In January 2017, both Henderson and Baum were charged in Juab's 4th District Court with weapons and drug charges. Henderson was eventually found guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia in exchange for the other counts being dismissed, according to court records.

In that incident, sheriff's deputies pulled over a car Baum was driving and Henderson was the passenger. They found a gun, a knife, methamphetamine and prescription medication in the vehicle, according to charging documents.

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