PROVO, Utah (News4Utah) – A Spanish Fork teen who filmed his friend’s suicide is found competent to stand trial
Tyerell Przybycien was charged with murder for helping the 16-year-old commit suicide and he’s also facing a class B misdemeanor for failing to report the body of a human.
Last year, the 16-year-old was found hanging from a tree in Payson Canyon. He’s accused of buying the rope for her, placing the noose over her neck and then filming her death.
In January, Judge James Brady ordered a mental health evaluation before continuing. Tuesday, Judge Brady ruled he was competent based on the two evaluations.
Family members had no comment following the hearing but his attorney claimed the charges of murder aren’t warranted.
“I do, that’s why we’re fighting this,” said Greg Stewart, Pryzbycien’s attorney. “Assisted suicide is not against the law in Utah at this point. So here in Utah County they’ve chosen to charge him with a first degree felony murder. Most other states don’t treat it that way.”
Previously, county prosecutors claimed the Utah murder statute gave them latitude to charge it as a murder.
But the same office approached Rep. Michael McKell of Spanish Fork to make this type of crime, manslaughter.
“The difficulty is that young man was charged with a first degree murder but he didn’t commit the murder,” said Rep. McKell. “What this does is gives the prosecutor some tools to seek justice appropriately.”
The legislation passed in the house and is now in the senate for consideration.
“This is not the only case where it has come up,” said Stewart. “So I think it’s probably a needed statute.
In Logan, Teresa Clark is currently facing attempted murder charges for helping an elderly woman in a suicide attempt. The woman survived and told police about Clark’s involvement. According to court documents, the woman eventually committed suicide without the assistance of anyone.
Clark’s attorney is asking the judge to throw out the deceased woman’s statements to police. Wednesday, a Cache County judge will hear arguments from both sides on the issue.
*A previous version of this story gave Spanish Fork Canyon as the location the victim was found. That has since been corrected to Payson Canyon.