For over two years, the family of missing 23-year-old Fort Hall resident Austin Forrest Pevo has believed he was the victim of foul play, and now three local men face federal charges in connection with what authorities are calling a homicide.
A federal grand jury in September indicted Justin Wilson Beasley, 25, of Fort Hall, on one charge of second-degree murder for allegedly stabbing Pevo to death on Feb. 3, 2018, according to court documents the Idaho State Journal recently obtained.
Moreover, court documents say a federal grand jury in November indicted Alden Hugh Brewster, 47, most recently of Blackfoot, on one charge of accessory to murder for allegedly assisting Beasley in killing Pevo. The grand jury also indicted Blandon Leif Coby, 45, of Fort Hall, in November on one charge of misprision of a federal felony crime for allegedly moving or hiding Pevo’s body after the murder occurred, court records say.
The indictments filed in U.S. District Court against Beasley, Brewster and Coby resulted from a joint investigation between the Fort Hall Police Department and the FBI. Authorities launched the investigation after Fort Hall police received information in September about a body that was discovered on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, a spokeswoman for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes told the Journal on Sept. 11, 2019.
For undisclosed reasons, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Idaho and the FBI had yet to release any statements about the federal indictments as of Monday afternoon. The Tribes issued a brief press release Monday night confirming that Pevo’s remains have been identified but not addressing the arrests.
”Since 2018, Pevo’s missing person’s case was investigated by Pocatello police, Fort Hall Police Department and the FBI. In September 2019, new information was provided to the Fort Hall Police and FBI special agents that led to a location on the Fort Hall Reservation where human remains were found,” the statement reads. “After further forensic investigation by the FBI, it was confirmed to be the remains of Austin Pevo. The family have been notified. No further information has been released to the Tribes on funeral arrangements.”
The Journal learned of the indictments after the information was posted to the Idaho Cold Cases Facebook page. Idaho Cold Cases is an Idaho Falls-based nonprofit group aimed at investigating unsolved crimes and disappearances. Idaho Falls resident Crystal Douglas operates the page. She was not available for comment for this report by press time Monday.
The Tribes did not disclose where on the reservation Pevo’s remains were discovered, nor who found the body, but told the Journal last September that Fort Hall police questioned several individuals who knew Pevo about his disappearance and no evidence of foul play was initially uncovered.
Pevo was last seen on Feb. 3, 2018, at a residence in the area of Hawthorne and Cemetery roads on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, police told the Journal in 2018. He apparently left that residence on foot has not been seen or heard from since, his family told the Journal in September in 2018. Pevo’s family said in April and September of 2018 that they thought he was the victim of foul play.
An FBI public affairs specialist in Salt Lake City, Sandra Barker, referred all comments about the case to the Idaho U.S. District Attorney’s Office, citing an agency policy to not comment on pending litigation. The Idaho U.S. District Attorney assigned to the cases, Jack Haycock, was not immediately available for comment at press time Monday.
Randy’l Teton, spokeswoman for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, declined to comment on the case Monday but said the Tribes are expected to release more information about Pevo’s apparent murder later this week.
A court summons was issued for Coby in December, and, after his initial appearance, he was released to pretrial court services so long as he adheres to all terms and conditions imposed by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Court, according to court records. Both Beasley and Brewster are currently incarcerated at the Madison County Jail in Rexburg with no bond.
Authorities have not released any information about what led them to believe Beasley, Brewster and Coby were the men who allegedly murdered Pevo, nor any potential motive for the killing.
Beasley was charged with second-degree murder after he “with malice aforethought, did unlawfully kill (Austin Pevo) by stabbing him with a knife,” according to the federal indictment.
The Blackfoot attorney listed for Beasley, David N. Parmenter, was not available for comment for this report by press time.
Beasley’s case is expected to go to trial on June 2 and Coby’s trial is expected to begin on June 22. Both trials are scheduled at the federal courthouse in Pocatello. Brewster does not yet have a scheduled trial date, according to court records.
If convicted of the second-degree murder charge, Beasley faces up to life in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
If convicted of the accessory to murder charge, Brewster faces up to 15 years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
And if convicted of the misprision of a federal felony charge, Coby faces up to three years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines.