BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — The man accused of killing Dylan Rounds limped into a Utah courtroom Monday afternoon wearing an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs around his wrists and shackles on his ankles.
James Brenner spoke only one word during the nine-minute hearing in the Box Elder County Courthouse. An EastIdahoNews.com camera was rolling as First District Judge Brandon Maynard asked Brenner if he was okay with the timeline of future hearings and Brenner responded, “Yes.”
The 59-year-old is charged with aggravated murder and abuse or desecration of a human body along with some firearms charges.
Brenner was squatting on property near Rounds’ trailer when the 19-year-old disappeared from his farm in the remote town of Lucin, Utah over Memorial Day weekend in 2022. His body has not been found but Rounds’ boots were discovered near a dirt mound and his phone was at the bottom of a pond near Brenner’s trailer.
Brenner has a violent criminal history and was arrested in June 2022 on outstanding warrants. He was booked into the Weber County Jail in Ogden, Utah on federal charges and then, in March, Box Elder County Attorney Blair Wardle announced Brenner was the suspect in Rounds’ murder case.
During Monday’s hearing, Michael Studebaker, Brenner’s attorney, asked Judge Maynard to appoint co-counsel to assist in the defense.
Maynard said he would look into having an additional defense attorney appointed and explained the challenges the court has to deal with as Brenner is facing both state and federal charges.
“Here’s the problem that is presented in this case. Mr. Brenner is in federal custody and each time this court acts, it has to get permission from the federal government to bring Mr. Brenner in,” Maynard said.
Wardle said the process takes six weeks so Brenner’s next court appearance, where a decision will be made on whether to hold a preliminary hearing, won’t be held until July 31.
Candice Cooley and Justin Rounds, Rounds’ parents, were in the courtroom with extended family members and explained how they felt seeing Brenner walk into the hearing.
“He’s despicable. His whole act of limping around is a complete act,” Cooley told EastIdahoNews.com. “I don’t know if it’s so we think he’s going to die or make him some sort of deal but he wants people to feel sorry for him.”
Rounds added, “He looks for attention to have people feel sorry for him. That’s all. I think it’s an act.”
WATCH OUR ENTIRE INTERVIEW WITH ROUNDS AND COOLEY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER: