POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – A Fort Hall man was sentenced to 327 months in federal prison for the second degree murder of Austin Pevo.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on February 3, 2018, Austin Pevo, 23, was dropped off by his mother at a residence on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation for work cutting firewood.
Testimony at trial showed Justin Beasley, 27, of Fort Hall, and others were at the residence at that time.
Beasley and Pevo had an argument, and Beasley stabbed Pevo twice in the chest with a knife. Beasley and two other men took Pevo’s body to an isolated area in Arbon Valley.
Pevo’s family reported him missing and the Fort Hall Police Department investigated but was unable to locate any information on Pevo’s whereabouts.
A witness to the events of February 3, 2018, came forward to the Fort Hall Police in August 2019, and reported Pevo had died on that date and three men who had been at the house removed his body. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed a search warrant at the residence and found evidence that Pevo had died there. One of the men who helped hide the body admitted to his involvement and took FBI agents to the location of Pevo’s remains in Arbon Valley. The agents recovered Pevo’s remains along with clothing and other personal items. DNA testing showed that the remains were those of Pevo.
Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye also ordered Beasley to serve an additional five years of supervised release upon completion of his sentence. Beasley was convicted following a jury trial which concluded on August 5, 2021.
“Prosecuting violent crimes in Indian Country is a priority for my office, and I hope this sentence brings some amount of closure and justice to the victim’s family," Acting U.S. Attorney Gonzalez said.
He also praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Hall Police Department for their exemplary and thorough investigation of this crime.
“Their complementary partnership resulted in the successful prosecution and sentencing of Beasley for this senseless murder. This office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting aggressively cases involving violent acts committed against Native Americans residing on reservation lands within Idaho,” Gonzalez said.