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Federal jury convicts man of 2018 Fort Hall murder

Crime Watch

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POCATELLO — A federal jury has convicted a man for the 2018 murder of Austin Pevo on the Fort Hall Reservation.

Following a four-day trial that started Monday, the jury found Justin Beasley, 27, of Fort Hall, guilty of second-degree murder. Beasley stabbed Pevo at a Fort Hall home on Feb. 3, 2018, before dumping the body in a remote area near Bannock Peak.

“Prosecuting violent crimes in Indian Country is a priority for my office, and I hope this conviction brings some amount of closure and justice to the victim’s family,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez Jr. said in a news release.

On the day of his murder, Pevo’s mother dropped him off at a Fort Hall home to cut firewood, according to a U.S. Attorney news release. Federal prosecutors say testimony given at trial showed while others were at the home, Beesley and Pevo got into an argument, and then Beasley stabbed Pevo twice in the chest.

Pevo’s family reported him missing, but it wasn’t until 19-moths later that the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes found the Pocatello man in the isolated area of the Fort Hall Reservation.

austin pevo
Austin Pevo | Courtesy Randy’L Teton

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A witness to the murder told Fort Hall Police in August 2019 that Pevo died at the house and three men removed his body.

The FBI served a search warrant at the house and found evidence Pevo died there. Additionally, one of the men who allegedly helped take Pevo’s remains to where they were found admitted to his involvement and showed the FBI where to find the body. DNA testing confirmed the remains were Pevo’s.

The two men who allegedly help Beasley cover up the murder were also charged.

Alden Hugh Brewster, 47, of Blackfoot was charged with accessory to murder. According to charging documents, Brewster assisted Beasley in an attempt to prevent the apprehension and punishment for killing Pevo.

RELATED | Remains of missing local man identified in FBI investigation

Blandon Leif Coby, 48, of Fort Hall was also indicted for allegedly helping Brewster move and hide Pevo’s body without notifying authorities of the homicide. He’s charged with misprision of felony, meaning he allegedly knew a crime was committed but failed to tell investigators.

Both Coby and Brewster have pleaded not guilty. A jury trial for Coby is scheduled for Aug. 23 and a jury trial for Brewster is scheduled for Oct. 12, according to court records.

Sentencing for Beasley is scheduled for Oct. 26 at the federal courthouse in Pocatello. Beasley faces up to life in prison with the second-degree murder conviction.