PROVO — A Spanish Fork man accused of encouraging and assisting a teenage girl as she took her own life was ordered to stand trial Tuesday.
After several days of deliberation, Tyerell Przybycien, 18, was bound over for trial on charges of murder, a first-degree felony, and desecration of a human body, a class B misdemeanor, in the death of 16-year-old Jchandra Brown.
Prosecutors had argued in a preliminary hearing that concluded earlier this month that while Brown had sought to take her own life, Przybycien was also responsible for the girl's death by buying her a rope and other items used in the suicide, driving her to a remote site in Payson Canyon and tying the noose for her.
Przybycien's attorneys countered that Brown was knowingly responsible for her own death and that Przybycien's actions don't fit requirements for a murder charge.
In a written decision handed down Tuesday afternoon, 4th District Judge James Brady found there was probable cause — a lower standard of proof than what prosecutors must prove at trial — that had it not been for Przybycien's alleged actions, Brown would not have died that night.
The judge's ruling is not a finding of guilt. In his decision, Brady noted it will be up to a jury to decide whether Przybycien's actions caused the girl's death or whether she herself was responsible.
In his ruling, Brady said it was "reasonable to infer (Przybycien) acted with intent to cause the death of the decedent." The judge pointed to messages Przybycien allegedly sent to friends before Brown's death saying he intended to help a friend take her life and that it would be "like getting away with murder!"
Przybycien was arrested May 6 after hunters found Brown's body hanging from a rope in a tree. Among the items found at her feet was a cellphone that Przybycien used to record the girl's death, talking to her at moments and checking her pulse to confirm she was deceased before leaving her in the tree. The video was played for Brady as part of the preliminary hearing.1 comment on this story
Przybycien is also facing charges in a separate, ongoing case that remains on hold while the murder charge is adjudicated.
In that case, police who obtained a warrant to search Przybycien's phone after his arrest reported they found child pornography and he was later charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.
The Utah Department of Health offers suicide prevention help at utahsuicideprevention.org/suicide-prevention-basic. The national crisis hotline is 800-784-2433.