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Nephi man charged with breaking up fight by shooting man in the head

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Nephi man was charged Friday with breaking up a fight in his truck by shooting and killing a man, then dumping his body in the West Desert of Juab County.

Troy James Pexton, 56, is charged in 4th District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, and abuse or desecration of a dead body, a third-degree felony.

On Nov. 27, police say Pexton was driving his truck with Michael Caussey, 50, of Santaquin, and Scott Blackett, 41, of Nephi, when Caussey began hitting Blackett in the head. Pexton reacted by pulling out his gun and shooting Caussey in the head, killing him, according to charging documents.

The men had been drinking and driving prior to the fight and Blackett claimed he “suffered a concussion and lost consciousness” from being beaten by Caussey, a police affidavit states. Police noted “extensive bruising” on the right side of his face.

After the shooting, Pexton drove to a remote area of Juab County, “pulled the victim from the vehicle, dragging his body off the road several feet and then drove over an hour to his home city,” according to the charges.

Pexton and Blackett then allegedly told family members what had happened, but they did not report it to police.

“Rather, it was a friend that learned of the shooting who reported it to police,” the charges state.

Police searched Pexton’s vehicle and found “large amounts of blood” and a bullet in the roof, the charges state. Caussey’s body was found 17 hours later along the Brush Wellman Highway. Pexton was arrested and booked into the Juab County Jail.

Blackett, after being treated for his injuries at a local hospital, was arrested for investigation of abuse or desecration of a dead human body. As of Friday, no formal charges had been filed against him.