JUAB COUNTY, Utah, Nov. 29, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — More information has been released after a murder in the West Desert area of Juab County on Friday.
According to a Juab County Sheriff’s Office news release, sheriff’s deputies and Nephi City Police officers responded to an address in Nephi after being notified by residents who reported that a man had been shot and “subsequently discarded in a location somewhere in the west desert of Juab County.”
Utah County Crime Scene Investigators processed the scene, and the victim has been identified as Michael Caussey, 50, of Santaquin.
Troy Pexton, 56, of Nephi, was detained and arrested on charges of murder, a first-degree felony, obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony and abuse or desecration of a dead human body, a third-degree felony.
Scott Blackett, 41, also of Nephi, had been taken to a local hospital for treatment and released for non life-threatening injuries, the news release states. Blackett returned to the Nephi address and was detained and ultimately arrested on a charge of abuse or desecration of a dead human body.
A probable cause statement from the 4th District Court of Juab County said: “It was learned that Troy Pexton had been out west with his friend Scott Blackett, as well as the victim. They were all reported to be occupying Troy’s truck. A third party also disclosed to our office that the subjects had been drinking and driving and a fight had occurred between the victim and Scott. The victim was reported to have repeatedly punched Scott in the face. It was then explained that Troy intervened in the fight and pulled out a gun and shot the victim.”
Pexton then allegedly dumped the victim’s body and drove the vehicle back to Nephi.
“While other deputies held the scene, I responded to the hospital where Scott had arrived to be treated,” the statement said. “While there, I attempted to interview Scott. Scott was not forthcoming with information and only advised that he had been punched in the face by the victim. Scott advised that he was sitting in the back of Troy’s truck and that Troy had been driving. Scott stated that alcohol had been present and that the victim had been in the front passenger seat and had climbed over to beat on him.”
Blackett said they all had been drinking, and was not able to remember what happened after the fight. He stated that he suffered a concussion and lost consciousness. Blackett had extensive bruising on the right side of his face, the statement said.
Pexton was read his Miranda rights and refused to speak with officers. Blackett then disclosed that the incident occurred in Juab County and that they had come back toward Nephi on the Brush Wellman Highway. Deputies were able to locate the victim’s body just off the the highway. The victim was found to be shot in the head.
“It’s worth noting that the body of the victim is rather large,” the statement said. “The victim is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. In observation, it would take at least two people to move the body.”
The suspect vehicle, which was registered to Pexton, was seized by the Juab County Sheriff’s Office and a search warrant was requested and approved. The vehicle was processed by Utah County Forensics and officials found blood on the passenger-side front and back seat floorboard. The forensics team also found a round stuck in the roof of the rear passenger seat. A 1911 pistol was found in between the driver’s seat and center console. Open containers of alcohol and ammunition were also found in the vehicle.
Pexton was not on probation at the time of his arrest, but has two previous charges for theft.
Both men were transported and booked into the Juab County Jail. Pexton is being held without bail, while Blackett’s bail has been set at $5,010.
The investigation is still underway.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.