Utah man will be tried on murder charge in girl’s suicide

In this Aug. 23, 2017, file photo, defendant Tyerell Przybycien returns to court following a break during his preliminary hearing in 4th District Court, Provo, Utah. A judge ruled ruled Oct. 17, that Przybycien, who was accused of encouraging a teen friend to hang herself and filming it because he was fascinated with death, should stand trial on a murder charge. | Photo by Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune via The Associated Press, St. George News
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A judge has ruled an 18-year-old Utah man accused of encouraging a teen friend to hang herself and filming it because he was fascinated with death should stand trial on a murder charge.

Tyerell Joe Przybycien, of Spanish Fork, Utah, booking photo posted May 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Judge James Brady in a ruling Tuesday called the case unusual but said Tyerell Przybycien should be tried on allegations that he was deeply involved in 16-year-old Jchandra Brown’s suicide planning.

The Associated Press does not typically identify juveniles in crime cases, but Brown’s mother has said she wanted her daughter identified to prevent anything similar from happening again.

Brady noted that police found a receipt showing Przybycien bought the rope Brown used and tied a knot in it for her.

Przybycien also told her at times that he would also kill himself.

Prosecutors have said Przybycien told a friend that helping her would be “like getting away with murder.”

His lawyers, though, have said the girl made her own choice — pointing to two suicide notes in her handwriting.

Defense lawyer Gregory Stewart has said Przybycien’s actions “probably weren’t very smart, not very kind” but did not amount to murder.

Brady said it will be up to a jury to decide whether the girl would have taken her life without Przybycien’s help.

The two drove on May 5 to a canyon about 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, where they tied the rope to a tree and fashioned a makeshift platform of rocks and wood underneath the tree.

Brown stood on the platform with the rope around her neck while Przybycien recorded a cellphone video of her inhaling compressed air from a canister, giggling and stepping off the platform, officials have said.

Authorities found a receipt showing Przybycien bought the rope and a phone containing the recording. While detectives were investigating, Przybycien showed up at the scene crying.

He has been jailed since his arrest.

Read more: 18-year-old man allegedly uses cellphone to record teen girl’s death in Utah campground

Przybycien is charged with murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

A jury could also be asked to consider convicting Przybycien of a lesser charge, like manslaughter, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The case comes after Michelle Carter was convicted this year of involuntary manslaughter in Massachusetts for encouraging her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself in dozens of text messages.

Written by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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