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Death penalty sought in slaying of teens found in mine shaft

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for a Utah man accused of killing two teenagers and dumping their bodies in an abandoned mine shaft.

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said Wednesday at a news conference in Provo that he will keep the option available so a jury can decide the punishment for Jerrod Baum, if he is found guilty.

Baum has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson and 18-year-old Riley Powell. The teens were reported missing in December 2017. Their bodies were found in a mine near Eureka three months later.

Baum’s public defender attorney, Dallas Young, didn’t immediately return an email and phone call.

Riley Powell’s father, Bill Powell, and Otteson’s aunt, Amanda Hunt, had pushed for the death penalty.

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