The Utah Attorney General’s Office has announced that they will be asking the Utah Supreme Court to uphold the aggravated murder conviction of Cody Lynn Nielsen despite Nielsen’s claims that his convictions should be overturned. Nielsen was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Hyrum teen 15-year-old Tricia Ann Autrey.
Nielsen was convicted of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and two counts of desecration of a dead body on January 29, 2004. 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.
According to a press release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office, on appeal, Nielsen’s attorneys argue that his convictions should be reversed because although the trial court originally granted his motion to move his trial to Davis County, his trial was heard by Box Elder County jurors in Cache County. Among other things, Nielsen also claims there was not enough factual evidence to support his aggravated kidnapping conviction.
Assistant Attorney General Karen Klucznik argues the trial venue does not matter because there is no evidence that any juror was biased or that the jury was partial. She also argues that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s verdicts convicting Nielsen on all charges.
Oral arguments in the case will take place Thursday, December 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the Utah Supreme Court, 450 S. State in Salt Lake City.