LOGAN — Cache County Attorney James Swink said he was pleased to read Tuesday’s Utah State Supreme Court ruling, upholding the conviction of Cody Lynn Nielsen. The 41-year-old was found guilty of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and desecration of a human body in connection with the death of 15-year-old Trisha Ann Autry of Hyrum in 2000.
“It affirms Mr. Nielsen’s conviction for aggravated murder and keeps in place his life sentence without the possibility of parole,” said Swink. “We anticipate him spending his whole life in prison and that’s the first and most important thing to come out of this decision.”
The court’s opinion did reverse and vacate Nielsen’s aggravated kidnapping conviction saying that it should have been merged with the aggravated murder conviction.
Swink said that was the appropriate thing to do and follows the law.
“It shouldn’t have any impact on the time he spends in prison,” said Swink. “We expect him to spend the rest of his life there.”
Nielsen’s trial was held in Cache County, with jurors who were brought in from Box Elder County. In September 2008, he appealed his conviction arguing that his case should have been moved to another county.
In the court’s opinion, Justice Thomas Lee said Nielsen failed to show any evidence of actual bias on the part of any of the jury members.
Swink said he thinks Nielsen’s appeal was an attempt to have his jury conviction overturned so the case would have to be tried again.
“Which would have been a tragedy for Trisha’s family and for our community and for the jury that served,” said Swink. “To have that turned on its head just would not have been justice in our mind.”
<span class=”paragraph-1″>Autrey went missing on June 24, 2000 and her remains were located a year later at the predator research facility in Millville. A jury sentenced Nielsen to life in prison without the possibility of parole.</span>
<span class=”paragraph-1″><span class=”paragraph-1″>Nielsen was convicted of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and two counts of desecration of a dead body on January 29, 2004.</span></span>
Nielsen is serving his sentence in the Utah State Prison.