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Boutain pleads guilty for murder of Utah student

Boutain pleads guilty  for murder of Utah student

  • Former Guin resident will serve life sentence, awaits more charges in Colorado

austin boutain.JPG

(Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)
Austin Boutain (center) looks on during a court hearing held on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Salt Lake City. Boutain, an ex-convict charged with gunning down a University of Utah student from China, using a stolen gun from a previous killing, pled guilty to murder and kidnapping charges. Boutain entered the pleas in an agreement with prosecutors that allows him to avoid a possible death penalty. He was sentenced to life without parole.

Article contributed by The Journal Record

News Editor
and Press Reports

HAMILTON - A former Marion County resident has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for shooting and killing a University of Utah student.

Austin Jeffery Boutain, 24, formerly of Guin, pled guilty to aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping on Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Boutain was involved in a fatal carjacking at the University of Utah campus in October 2017, where he fired five shots into a car parked at Red Buttle Canyon, resulting in the death of Chen Wei Guo, a computer science major from China.

According to press reports, there was a female passenger in the car when Boutain opened fire on Guo. Boutain ordered her out of the car and shot at her but missed as she fled.

Boutain was on the lam for approximately 14 hours before he was spotted and arrested at the Salt Lake City Library.

Before being sentenced, Boutain said, “I just want to say to the family and the victims, I know sorry doesn’t mean much, but I’m truly sorry.”

After pleading guilting, Utah 3rd District Court Judge Richard McKelvie sentenced him to a life term in prison. Boutain’s plea came part of a plea deal to avoid facing the death penalty.

Guo’s parents were in support of the resolution, Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Chou Chou Collins told the judge.

Boutain also pleaded guilty on Sept. 12 to two other cases--one for stabbing another inmate with a shank in January and for breaking a sprinkler head and flooding his cell in March. 

His prison sentences for those charges will run concurrent to his life sentence.

In an interview with university police, Boutain admitted to stealing three guns from a home in Colorado. One of the weapons, a .44-caliber Ruger, is believed to have been used to kill Guo.

Boutain and his wife, Kathleen Boutain, 24, Guin, had only been in Salt Lake City for about two days, according to a statement from campus police.

Reportedly, the Boutains told police they planned to kidnap someone and use the victim’s money and credit cards to buy supplies.

According to documents, they planned to kill the victim once in Tennessee.

At some point, Boutain reportedly pistol-whipped his wife with a firearm. Police described the assault as the first in a series of events leading to Guo’s death.

Marriage licenses published by the Journal Record in May 2014 record Boutain and his wife as being residents of Guin.

On Monday, Oct. 30, at about 8:15 p.m., Kathleen Boutain was reporting the assault to university police. As police were taking the report, they learned that Guo had been shot and killed.

During her interview, Kathleen Boutain told police that she and Austin Boutain had traveled to Utah in a stolen vehicle with stolen firearms, documents say.

Kathleen Boutain was booked on Oct. 30, 2017, at the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of theft by receiving stolen property and drug possession charges. Police say she had a prescription bottle of Ambien, unlabeled, and other drug paraphernalia.

Investigators from Golden, Colo., traveled to Salt Lake City after the couple had been booked to interview them in connection with the murder of 63-year-old Mitchell Bradford Ingle, which had taken place in Colorado the week before. The Boutains allegedly killed Ingle and then drove his truck to Utah.

Both Boutains currently face charges for Ingle’s death and are expected to appear in court there soon.

Boutain has family in Minnesota, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. He also used to live in Ohio and Alabama. The couple has one daughter together.

According to felony arrest records held by the Journal Record, Boutain was charged four times in Marion County. His former charges include first-degree theft of property, attempting to elude law enforcement, (drug) manufacturing and a violation of the Sex Offender Notification Act (SORNA).

Boutain was first arrested in Marion County in April 2015 for manufacturing methamphetamine. 

In June 2015, he was arrested again for violating SORNA. He pled guilty to violating SORNA in November 2015 and was given a  five-year sentence (or three years with probation). 

In February 2016, Boutain was charged with first-degree theft of property. At that time, his probation rights were revoked, and his sentence went back to the full five years. 

In February 2017, Boutain left prison for one day to plead guilty to the first-degree theft of property charge.

“When he pled to his theft charge in February of this year, the sentence he received was one that required he be monitored through the pardons and parole office, after being released from his incarceration. This was to monitor him after release,” Marion-Winston Assistant District Attorney Paige Vick said.

In March 2017, Boutain was indicted with the manufacturing charge, which was later dismissed because of the two plea agreements Boutain had already entered.

In June 2017, the Alabama Department of Corrections paroled Boutain.

“He never showed up (to the pardons and parole office) and an active warrant has been out for his arrest for failing to comply with the requirements set forth by the court system,” Vick said. 

Boutain’s whereabouts were unknown until the Oct. 30 murder.

“From early on after his arrest, both the states of Colorado and Utah contacted our office,” Vick said. “We were able to secure all the convictions and probation paperwork to help insure that Boutain received the maximum punishments for these crimes.”

25th Judicial Circuit Judge Lee Carter said, “As far as the Marion County judicial system goes, it did what it was supposed to do.” 

Kathleen Boutain has waived her right to a court appearance, meaning she wants to go right to the next step and she won’t be back in court until November.

Along with her husband, she’s accused of plotting to kidnap someone and steal their car.


Austin Boutain Pleads Guilty 

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