The Deseret News reports that 19-year-old Tyerell Joe Przybycien was sentenced to at least five years but could serve up to life in prison.
Przybycien expressed remorse for his involvement in encouraging and assisting 16-year-old Jchandra Brown to kill herself in a canyon in May 2017, telling the court that he “doesn’t deserve pity.”
Brown’s mother, Sue Bryan, reportedly said Przybycien was a “sociopath” and that he took time to research and prepare for the suicide, such as buying rope and measuring nooses.
“There are no words to describe the nightmare that I endure,” Bryan said. “Every day I wake up and have to live the horror of her death over and over.”
Prosecutor Chad Grunander reportedly said in court Przybycien was fascinated with death and that he had remarked to friend that helping Brown commit suicide would be “like getting away with murder.”
Grunander said Brown had been a cheerleader who was planning to attend prom before she took her own life at the encouragement of Przybycien.
“She was an anxious, downcast teenager, trying to find her place in the world,” said Grunander, who called Przybycien “the worst person for her in this trying time of her life.”
Przybycien’s grandfather, Larry Przybycien, told the court that his grandson was a kind person. Defense attorney Gregory Stewart added that his client’s evolving teen brain and use of drugs and alcohol caused him to make “poor decisions.”
Tyerell Przybycien had only recently turned 18 at the time of Brown’s death.
A hunter discovered Brown’s body next to a cell phone that contained a video Przybycien recorded of her committing suicide. In the video, Przybycien can be seen calling to Brown but not intervening to prevent her death.
“I guess I’ll just leave this here now,” Przybycien can be heard saying at the end of the video, referring to Brown’s body.
Przybycien later went to the scene as police were investigating.
Stewart had argued the murder charge was too punitive, noting that Brown’s suicide notes were consistent with her handwriting, which suggested she made the decision to kill herself. Judge James Brady was not persuaded by that argument.
In an interview with police shortly after the suicide, Pryzbycien said he felt guilty about what happened.
“I feel like I did murder her. I helped her so much,” Pryzbycien said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Przybycien later took a plea deal, pleading guilty to child abuse homicide. He was also was accused of having child pornography on his phone and pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
Przybycien is expected to serve at least five years in prison but could spend his entire life behind bars. A parole board will ultimately decide whether he should be released.
The case has parallels to the prosecution of Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman who was sentenced last year for involuntarily manslaughter after she encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself when she was a teen.