PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – Before concluding their case, prosecutors wanted to show the jury what Jerrod Baum was like when nobody was watching.
Baum is on trial for the murders of two teens in 2017. He’s been in the Utah County jail since he was charged in 2018.
He’s allowed to make phone calls and in one conversation with his new girlfriend, Baum sounded optimistic.
“So when it’s over, we’ll go somewhere nice and fresh,” he said to the woman.
The conversation was recorded and played for the jury Tuesday. Another recorded conversation showed Baum making fun of a Facebook post by Amanda Hunt, Brelynne Otteson’s aunt.
Otteson and Riley Powell were allegedly murdered by Baum.
In the post, Hunt told the community to be aware of someone taking down posters of their disappearance.
Girlfriend: “So somebody in your town is going around ripping posters.
Baum: (laughs)… That’s terrible (laughs). That makes my (expletive) hard.”
Hunt who was in the courtroom when the phone call was played was stunned.
“His laugh … it was bone-chilling,” she texted ABC4.
Baum is facing aggravated murder charges for the murders of Otteson and Powell who disappeared in late 2017.
It was Baum’s former girlfriend, Morgan (Henderson) Lewis, that helped authorities solve the murders.
Months after their disappearance, she led them to their bodies inside a mine shaft near Eureka.
Murder charges against Lewis were dropped in a plea bargain. But she agreed to testify against Baum.
She testified on the first day describing the grisly details of the teen’s murder.
After 21-days, the prosecution rests its case against Baum. It is now the defense to present its evidence.
“On her testimony, the state has shown some evidence upon which a reasonable jury could find each element of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Judge Pullan. “For these reasons, the motion is denied.”
The defense then set out to show the jury that Lewis and another man were never fully investigated for the murders of the teens.
A former detective testified for the defense about how the couple’s phones went out of service for nearly 12-hours about the time the teens disappeared.
Defense attorney: “Where was the device according to the location data?
Former detective: “I believe it was at his home.”
Defense attorney: “What about when it was able to generate again?
Former detective: “It was his home.”
The judge stopped the trial after the prosecution objected to her testimony.
Prosecutors claimed they did not receive advance notice of what her testimony would be.
It’s part of the pre-trial legal process where both sides must divulge who their witnesses will be and what they will be testifying to.
The jury was dismissed until Friday but there’s a hearing Thursday to further discuss the prosecution’s objection.
The case is expected to wrap up next week.