A 4th District judge Wednesday refused to reduce bail for an Orem man charged with the drug overdose death of a teen girl, whose body was found in March lying in a flower bed behind an LDS chapel.
Monte White, 19, will remain in the Utah County Jail on $250,000 bail. He will stand trial Oct. 21 on a charge of murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of Natalie Farrer, 17, Orem.He also will stand trial on three second-degree felony counts of heroin distribution; one count of heroin possession and one count of abuse of a dead body, third-degree felonies; and marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, class B misdemeanors.
Judge Lynn W. Davis refused to reduce White's bail mainly out of fear that White is a heroin addict who would again become involved with heroin if released from jail.
Meanwhile, co-defendant Benjamin Zee Jensen, 19, Orem, is close to accepting a plea bargain offered by prosecutors. Jensen was in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but his attorney Dean Zabriske said Jensen will likely enter a plea to reduced charges next week.
Jensen is currently charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and two charges of heroin distribution, second-degree felonies. Plea negotiations became complicated when Jensen was charged last week with assaulting another inmate at the Utah County Jail.
Deputy Utah County Attorney Phil Hadfield assured Davis that Farrer's family is involved in the plea negotiations.
Farrer's body was found March 9 behind an LDS chapel at 1650 N. Geneva Road in Provo after police received an anonymous 911 call from a nearby pay telephone. The state medical examiner's office ruled that Farrer died from drug intoxication.
According to testimony at their preliminary hearing, White and Jensen confessed to injecting Farrer with heroin on March 8. White also told investigators that when he awoke the next day and found Farrer dead in his bed, he and his sister placed the body in a sleeping bag and dumped it at the chapel. They then drove to a nearby convenience store and called 911.
White allegedly told investigators that after dumping Farrer's body, he and Jensen drove to Salt Lake City and purchased more heroin. However, Jensen was apparently unaware at the time that Farrer had died.
Utah County Deputy Attorney Craig Madsen said White and Jensen are charged with murder because they showed a "depraved indifference to human life" when they injected Farrer with a substance they knew had the potential to cause "grave risk of death."