The Justice Files: Life in a wheelchair

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Brenner Larsen wants to know why. He now lives life in a wheelchair after being shot during a home invasion robbery.

In addition, he has lost his best friend, Deondre Baldwin, who was killed in the same confrontation with two men.

Larsen was an athlete who loved football and rugby.  But he can only watch from the sidelines. In September of 2016, two people broke into his apartment.

“It looked like the people had been staking out our apartment for a couple of weeks,” said Larsen.

That morning he said the door leading into his was unlocked.

“I got woken up to Bailey’s hand around my throat,” he said.  “It was a torch but it looked like a gun.”

According to police, Christopher Bailey was holding a butane torch and threatening to burn Larsen unless he gave them money.

In another room was Jonathon Rogers who was holding a gun to Larsen’s roommate, Deondre Baldwin.  Larson gave them money.

“We gave them some money and told them you want the TV, take the TV, you want the Xbox, take the Xbox,” he said.  “(I told them) take what you want and leave.”

But they refused to leave.  He said Baldwin got up and confronted Bailey.

“I knew where that was headed and I said, chill,” Larsen said.  

But it became heated and Larsen threw a bottle at Rogers.

“That’s when Rogers had shot me,” he said.  “I didn’t hear, I didn’t hear it until my eyes were on the ground.”

While he’s on the ground, Rogers was still holding the gun as his friend continued to fight with Bailey.  Larsen tried to help but couldn’t get up.

“My upper half (of body) moved, my lower doesn’t move,” he said.  “And so as that happens the first thought that goes through my mind is like ‘dang it, if I survive through this I’m going to be paralyzed.’  You know what I’m saying and right as that thought happens that’s when Rogers shot at Deondre.” 

Bailey and Baldwin take off before police arrived.  Baldwin died but Larson was rushed to the hospital and eventually loses consciousness.When he woke up he learned that his best friend was dead and he would never walk again.

“It crushed me,” Larsen said.  “I didn’t know what to do and it instantly threw me into a deep spell of depression.”

Rogers, the alleged triggerman and Bailey are eventually arrested.  Their charges include murder and attempted murder.

Larsen said he didn’t know them but had run into them at the apartment complex before. 

“We didn’t know who they were, didn’t know what they were going to do,” he said.  “Those times we had seen them around the complex a couple of times.  We never thought anything of it.”

Larsen said he misses Baldwin.  They’ve been friends over the past few years. Now that he’s gone Larsen said he cherishes their time together. As for him, he understands what’s in front of him.

“I might be able to (walk) with a lot of physical therapy,” he said.  “But even if I do there’s (more of a chance that) I may never walk again.”

Rogers and Bailey have pleaded guilty to reduced charges tied to the murder and attempted murder. The pair are scheduled to be sentenced next week and Larsen plans to be there.

“I want to ask them why,” he said.  “Why would you do this to two people?”

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