John F. Pendergrass, accused of killing a companion during a 1987 camping trip, gave authorities several different versions of the man's death before leading police to his body, a deputy sheriff testified.
Box Elder County Deputy Sheriff Lynn Yeates testified Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of Pendergrass, charged with the slaying of Ray Dale Jenkins, 22, on May 27, 1987.Yeates told a 1st District Court jury that in the first of several interviews with the defendant, Pendergrass, 19, described Jenkins' death as a suicide.
During another conversation with the defendant, Yeates said, Pendergrass appeared upset and told him there would be two bullet holes in the body when it was found.
Yeates also testified that Pendergrass told him Jenkins shot himself and that Pendergrass shot him to "put him out of his misery."
Pendergrass then led police officers to Jenkins' decomposed body.
In other testimony Thursday, Todd Farr and Kevin Christoffersen said Pendergrass and Jenkins helped get Christoffersen's truck started the night of the slaying at Willard Bay.
Under cross-examination, they described Pendergrass as "spaced out," "zombie-eyed," and "out of touch with reality," and said Jenkins appeared hyperactive.
Friends of Pendergrass testified they rode with him to California the day after the slaying in Jenkins' truck, where Pendergrass left them stranded.
Pendergrass was arrested in California on a traffic violation and was extradited to Utah on an outstanding forgery warrant.