Federal Jury Convicts Fort Hall Man of Murder
POCATELLO – After a four-day jury trial, a federal jury sitting in Pocatello found Justin Beasley, 27, of Fort Hall, Idaho, guilty of second degree murder, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. announced today. Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye presided over the trial, which began on August 2nd, and concluded with guilty verdicts on the afternoon of August 5th.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on February 3, 2018, Austin Pevo, 23, was dropped off by his mother at a residence on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation for work cutting firewood. Testimony at trial showed that Beasley and others were at the residence at that time. Beasley and Pevo had an argument and Beasley stabbed Pevo twice in the chest with a knife. Beasley and two other men took Pevo’s body to an isolated area in Arbon Valley.
Pevo’s family reported him missing and the Fort Hall Police Department investigated but was unable to locate any information on Pevo’s whereabouts.
A witness to the events of February 3, 2018, came forward to the Fort Hall Police in August 2019, and reported that Pevo had died on that date and three men who had been at the house removed his body. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed a search warrant at the residence and found evidence that Pevo had died there. One of the men who helped hide the body admitted to his involvement and took FBI agents to the location of Pevo’s remains in Arbon Valley. The agents recovered Pevo’s remains along with clothing and other personal items. DNA testing showed that the remains were those of Pevo.
Beasley was indicted by a federal grand jury on the charge of second degree murder of Austin Pevo on September 24, 2019.
Beasley is scheduled to be sentenced on October 26, 2021 and faces up to life in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Gonzalez said, “Prosecuting violent crimes in Indian Country is a priority for my office, and I hope this conviction brings some amount of closure and justice to the victim’s family.” He also praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Hall Police Department for their exemplary and thorough investigation of this crime. “Their complementary partnership resulted in the successful outcome of this senseless murder. This office and our law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting aggressively cases involving violent acts committed against Native Americans residing on reservation lands within Idaho,” Mr. Gonzalez added.