‘Crossbow Killer’ Could Face Death Penalty in Utah

November 17, 2017 Updated: November 20, 2017

The accused allegedly fired a crossbow at a man in Colorado and then slit his throat. He later reportedly shot and killed University of Utah student Guo Chen Wei, and is now charged with aggravated murder, which carries the death penalty.

Austin Jeffery Boutain is being held without bail due to the heinous nature of the crimes he is accused of committing, state court documents in the case, according to Fox. The charges, which include attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, and 10 other felonies were brought forward by Salt Lake City prosecutors on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 3rd District Court in the Utah capital.

Kathleen Boutain, wife of the accused, also faces a number of charges in connection with the case, including multiple counts of criminal solicitation and theft by receiving stolen property. If convicted, she could face life in prison.

She is eligible for bail, set at just over $1 million, cash-only.

Austin Jeffrey Boutain (L) and Kathleen Boutain (R) have been charged with multiple crimes in connection with the murder of a University of Utah student. (Photos courtesy of Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

The two may also face charges in Colorado. After Boutain was apprehended on Oct. 31 at the Salt Lake City Main Library, he admitted to killing a man in Colorado, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune. He then provided police with a detailed account of events leading up to the arrest. Police and prosecutors recounted Boutain’s statements in court, and they were made public on Thursday.

Days after the pair allegedly killed 63-year-old Mitchell Bradford Ingle in Colorado on Oct. 27, court documents state, Austin and Kathleen Boutain were on the lookout for a victim to carjack and kidnap at the University of Utah.

“They hatched a plan that they were going to kidnap a person and a vehicle from the Red Butte Garden area and then drive this person to Tennessee,” Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill said, reports Fox. “They were going to use his or her credit cards for food and gas, and once they got to Tennessee their intent was to kill that person.”

At one point, 23-year-old Guo Chen Wei and a woman passenger drove up to the location the Boutains had staked out. Guo was shot and killed, then several bullets were fired at the woman, who managed to escape.

“And she did probably the smartest thing at that point, which is she threw the phone on the ground, and as he went down to pick it up to turn off the phone—she was on the phone with 911—she ran away, and as she was running away, Mr. Boutain filed several shots at her, as he later admitted, with an intent to kill her,” Gill said, according to Fox.

Police discovered the crime scene after an officer heard gunshots coming from Red Butte Canyon at 8:32 p.m. on Oct. 30, and proceeded to investigate. The University of Utah was immediately placed on lockdown and a 14-hour manhunt for the suspect ensued. Boutain evaded capture throughout the night and part of the next day. Then he walked into Salt Lake City Main Library and was recognized by a librarian. The suspect was taken into custody by security at 1:10 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Boutain walks into the library at 12:05 p.m. (YouTube / Salt Lake City Tribune)


Boutain is detained by security at 12:30 p.m. (YouTube / Salt Lake City Tribune)

Following the incident, the University of Utah issued a statement mourning the loss of student Guo.

At the time of the shooting, Austin Boutain was on probation for a number of felony convictions, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune, including for not registering as a sex offender and for stealing a motor vehicle. 

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