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Two teens charged with first-degree murder of Ammon man

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Westley Hightower and Daniel Wood | Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office

AMMON — Two teenagers are charged with first-degree murder after the shooting death of an Ammon man.

Westley Hightower and Daniel Wood, both 18, were charged in Bonneville County on Tuesday with first-degree murder and could face the death penalty. According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, the teens were arrested after deputies found Larry H. Powell shot in the head at his home on Ammon Road around 2 p.m. Monday.

The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the Ammon home and was told by the person who called 911 that a man wearing a tan hoodie with dark hair ran after shooting Powell. Deputies arrived and found the suspect, who identified himself as Wood.

Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

Wood told detectives that he was only a witness to the shooting and that his friend, Hightower, pulled the trigger, according to court documents. Deputies then found Hightower and brought the teens in for questioning at the Ammon Field Office.

During an interview with investigators, Hightower initially said Wood shot Powell but then changed his story, saying he killed the man. Hightower is the adopted son of Powell’s wife and lived with him in the home.

Wood, who is homeless, told detectives that he met Hightower last Friday. In the subsequent days, the two had several conversations about killing Powell, detectives said.

“Wood disclosed that Hightower offered him ‘some money’ and to live at Powell’s residence if he helped Hightower murder Powell and his wife,” according to court documents.

Wood told detectives the pair had a plan to dispose of Powell’s body, then sabotage his wife’s car to make it look like an accident. Detectives said this was in an effort “to murder her,” detectives say.

About two days before the shooting, both Hightower and Wood admitted to trying to poison Powell in their attempts to kill him, documents allege.

The two conversed for several hours leading up to the killing of Powell, according to documents. Court documents do not specify the pair’s motive for the killing.

The documents say Wood came over to the house and tried to distract Powell as Hightower, who was armed, sat behind the man. The gun fired, and a single bullet hit Powell in the head, killing him.

Hightower was 17 at the time of the shooting, but he turned 18 Tuesday.

Both Hightower and Wood will make initial appearances at the Bonneville County Courthouse at 1 p.m. Wood is being held on $750,000 bail and Hightower on a $1 million bail.

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