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Two Utah men have been arrested after the body of another man was found “discarded” in the desert following a deadly, alcohol-fueled fight, authorities said.
Troy Pexton, 56, is now facing charges of murder, obstruction of justice, and abuse or desecration of a human body in the death of 50-year-old Michael Caussey, according to a statement from the Juab County Sheriff’s Office.
Scott Blackett, 41, who appears battered and bruised in his mugshot, is also facing charges of abuse or desecration of a dead human body.
Juab County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Nelphi City Police responded to an address in Nephi City on Friday after receiving “reports from local citizens” that a man had been shot and “discarded” in the west desert of Juab County.
A man who was not involved in the shooting told deputies that Caussey, Pexton and Blackett had all been drinking when a fight broke out between them, according to an affidavit obtained by The Deseret News.
The men had been riding in a truck together when Caussey allegedly began to repeatedly punch Blackett in the face, according to the affidavit, also obtained by local station KSTU.
Pexton allegedly tried to intervene in the dispute and shot Caussey.
The two surviving men then dumped his body in the desert and drove back to Nephi, authorities said.
When authorities later interviewed Blackett at a hospital where he was receiving treatment for his injuries, he allegedly said Caussey had punched him in the face and “beat on him” after climbing over the front seat in the truck into the back seat where Blackett had been sitting, the affidavit said.
“(Blackett) advised that they had all been drinking, but was not able to tell me much more after the fight. (Blackett) stated that he suffered a concussion and lost consciousness,” the affidavit said.
After searching the truck, investigators found blood in the passenger side of the vehicle and along the backseat floorboard. Authorities said they also found a bullet hole in the roof of the back passenger seat, “open containers of alcohol,” firearms, ammunition and a pistol during the search, the affidavit stated.
In a joint effort by the Juab County Sheriff’s Office, Millard County Sheriff’s Office, Nephi City Police Department and Juab County Search and Rescue, authorities were able to locate Caussey’s body in the desert along the Brush Wellman Highway, officials said in the statement.
The investigation remains ongoing.
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