Austin Boutain pleads guilty, avoids death penalty in murder of U of U student

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The man accused of shooting and killing a University of Utah student pleaded guilty in court Wednesday.

As a part of a plea deal, Austin Boutain pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, and aggravated kidnapping for a sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole.

During his plea hearing, Judge Richard McKelvie told Boutain if he chooses to take the case to trial, the state could seek the death penalty.

Judge McKelvie:  “What is your plea then to count one of the information charging you with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony?”
Austin Boutain “Guilty.”

Boutain also admitted guilt to attempted aggravated murder and eleven other lesser charges were dismissed.

Police said Boutain shot and killed U of U international student ChenWei Guo in October 2017 during an attempted carjacking. His wife, Kathleen Boutain was also with him and was arrested she was charged with three counts each of criminal solicitation and theft of stolen property.

Prior to sentencing, Boutain appeared remorseful over what he had done.

“I just want to say to their family of the victims, I know sorry doesn’t mean much but I am truly sorry,” Boutain said in court.

The victim’s family who lives in China were not present during Wednesday’s hearing, but prosecutor Chou Chou Collins said they remain “saddened” over the death of their only child. 

“They say ChenWei Guo was a perfect son to them and they are very sad losing him,” Collins said.  “The other victim is so traumatized, she can’t bear to coming to this town again.”

Boutain’s parents left quickly after the sentencing but expressed offered a brief statement aimed at the victims.

“We’re sorry about what happened and wish the best for them,” said Jeff Boutain. 
Boutain’s wife, Kathleen will return to court in late November for a hearing.  For now, there is no word whether a plea deal will be offered.  

Meanwhile, Austin Boutain’s troubles extend to Colorado.  He is facing murder charges for killing a man.  Authorities said Boutain killed him and then stole his pickup truck before leaving to Utah.

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