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Justice for Riley and Breezy could take years

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PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – The family of two teens murdered in Eureka are prepared for a long battle to get justice.

Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson were found murdered in an abandoned mine last month near Eureka.  A day later, Jerrod Baum was charged with multiple felonies including two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of aggravated kidnapping. 

The charges are death penalty eligible.  But the Utah County district attorney will decide at a later date whether to pursue the death penalty.

Thursday’s hearing was postponed because attorneys needed more case-related documents before proceeding. 

Riley’s father, Bill Powell made the long journey from Eureka only to hear about the continuance.

“It looks like it’s going to be a long drawn out process,” said Powell afterwards.  “I’d just like to see it done with and over quick and find him guilty and done away with him.”

Amanda Hunt and her family left Tooele early to make the 90-minute drive.

“We knew it was going to be long and drawn out,” said Hunt.  “We knew it wasn’t going to be quick and fast. There’s no settling for this. The kids need justice.

Thursday the judge wanted to make sure that Baum would have experienced attorneys who have dealt with the death penalty.

Baum has four public defenders as part of his team and the judge learned two of those attorneys are death penalty attorneys.

Riley and Breezy were both stabbed to death.  Baum allegedly murdered Riley and prosecutors said he forced Breezy to watch it before being stabbed to death.

Chad Grunander, assistant Utah County attorney said there are criteria for a death penalty.  He said the strength of the case, the defendant’s criminal history and family input go into that decision.

“We’re committed to justice,” said Grunander.  “Sometimes justice is a moving target as the case moves along. But we’re committed to justice in this case and we don’t know what that is yet.”

It appears one of those conditions has already been met.  The families of Riley and Breezy are endorsing the death penalty if there is a conviction.

“We’re definitely for that,” said Powell.  “And I want to help because I have that right.”

Baum will return to court in August for a scheduling conference.  His preliminary hearing date could possible be set then.  But as far as the trial is concerned, Hunt and Powell will have to wait even longer.

“It could be another year, maybe two years,” said Grunander.

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