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Defense attorneys file motion to include lie detector tests in trial of suspected killer

(Stuart Johnson, KSL, File)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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PROVO – A motion has been filed by defense attorneys for Jerrod Baum, the man accused of murdering two Utah teenagers in 2017, asking that the results of his lie detector tests be included in his trial.

Family members of "Breezy" Otteson, 17, and Riley Powell, 18, continue to mourn and wait for justice three years after the teens were murdered.

"We're struggling," said Amanda Davis. "It doesn't get easier, I think, because we're still seeking that justice."

The teen's bodies were found in an abandoned mine shaft in Eureka after nearly three months of searching.

Jerrod Baum was put behind bars, accused of killed the teens. He pleaded not guilty in 2019 and on Tuesday, his attorneys revealed he voluntarily took two separate lie detector tests, "wherein he was asked if he cut or stabbed" either of them, according to a motion filed on his behalf. He answered he did not, and his "responses were rated as credible."

"Polygraphs are great for law enforcement and for attorneys," said Greg Skordas, a defense attorney and former prosecutor who is not affiliated with the case.

Skordas said they use lie detectors as attorneys with those they represent, but he said the tests results only go so far for good reason.

"They might have a client who passed a polygraph test. They want the whole world to know about that because it helps them," Skordas said.

In this case, defense attorneys who represent Baum have filed a motion for the court to allow Baum's lie detector test results to be used in the trial.

"But in our court system, we want judges and juries to decide based on the evidence before them," Skordas said. "Not based on what a polygraph examiner has told them."

Skordas said he's not aware of test results from a lie detector being used in a criminal trial and does not expect this case to be the first to do so.

"Make no mistake, a polygraph examination is not going to be admitted in that court," Skordas said.

Breezy Otteson and Riley Powell
Breezy Otteson and Riley Powell (Photo: File)

Still, the motion doesn't sit well with Davis, who can only hope it doesn't get in the way of the family's search for justice.

"Sick to my stomach. A whirlwind of emotion," Davis said. "For now, we're just in limbo. We're just waiting."

KSL-TV reached out to Baum's defense attorneys and was told they couldn't comment, other than what was contained in the motion. The Utah County District Attorney's Office also had no comment.

The trial was supposed to begin in March, but was delayed indefinitely during the pandemic.

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Matt Rascon


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