The Justice Files: In search of the truth

Justice Files

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Morgan Henderson felt she was about to be strangled.

And it was her then-boyfriend Jerrod Baum who allegedly placed a garrote around her neck. She was told to keep quiet or else.

In newly released transcripts from a deposition hearing, Henderson testifies how she was terrified of Baum.

Baum is facing aggravated murder charges for the deaths of two teens.

In 2018, the bodies of Brelynne Otteson and Riley Powell were found in an abandoned mine near Eureka. They had been missing since late December.

Henderson accepted a plea bargain in exchange for her testimony against Baum. At a preliminary hearing in 2018, she claimed to witness Baum murder the teens.

But the September deposition hearing covered new ground, primarily Henderson’s mental health and whether she was a credible witness.

According to newly released transcripts of the hearing, prosecutors claimed Henderson to this day, still feared Baum.

She testified “after the murders, (Baum) told her he stabbed Riley, slit Breezy’s throat and he would decapitate her” if she told anyone.

Prosecutors claimed Baum “wrapped a garrote around her throat and told her if she wanted her son to grow up, she should quit crying about Riley.”

Henderson said, “there was a lot of talk about how — his beliefs, people — our people were born killers that that’s the way it’s always been.”

So, she “became his no. 1 fan” and “figured out what I was dealing with. I was in way over my head.”

She also claimed Baum boasted of many other unsolved murders.

All that, according to prosecutors, was to maintain “psychological control” over her.

Henderson is the only witness to the murder and forensic evidence has not tied Baum to the crime.

That’s why Baum’s defense is targeting Henderson and her credibility.

A recent court filing by Baum’s attorneys indicated Henderson is an alleged murderer herself.

The defense claimed Henderson placed “six fentanyl patches” on her mother causing her to overdose.

She told a friend it was “a mercy killing” due to her mother’s chronic pain.

The defense claimed the incident was never reported nor investigated by the Juab County sheriff’s office.

And they also claimed prosecutors were fighting to keep this from the jury.

As a result, the defense said “Henderson’s importance in this case has thus given her a free pass on attempting to kill her mother.”

The Utah County judge overseeing the case has yet to rule whether these latest allegations will be admitted during Baum’s trial.

The Juab County Sheriff’s Office did not return calls as to why the death of Henderson’s mother was never investigated.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah Coronavirus

More Coronavirus Updates


More In Focus

Justice Files

More Justice Files

Trending Stories