Charges Filed in Shooting Death of U Student

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Austin Boutain is being charged with aggravated murder in the Oct. 30, 2017, shooting death of University of Utah student ChenWei Guo.
Salt Lake County Jail

More details emerged with charging documents filed Thursday in the shooting death of ChenWei Guo on Oct. 30 at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon on the University of Utah’s campus.

When University Police (UPD) responded to a domestic violence call from the Peterson Heritage Center at 7:59 p.m., shooter Austin Boutain’s wife, Kathleen Boutain, told officers that her husband had pistol-whipped her, that he had two guns and that he was willing to kill for a vehicle. The couple was on the run following a homicide they were being investigated for in Golden, Colorado.

At 8:32 p.m., police heard gunshots coming from the canyon. As officers rushed to the scene, they saw a woman who was with Guo running toward them. There was a bullet hole through the driver’s side window of a car in the parking lot at the base of the canyon when they arrived. The officers broke out the window and found Guo’s body lifeless in the driver’s seat with a gunshot wound to the neck.

The woman told law enforcement that she was sitting in the passenger seat of the car with Guo when Austin Boutain knocked on the driver’s side window. When Guo began driving away, Boutain shot him.

The woman jumped on Guo’s lap in an effort to escape in the car, but she said she didn’t know how to operate the vehicle. She then attempted to call 911, but while she was speaking to the operator, Boutain tried to get into the car through the passenger-side door. Boutain told her to turn off the phone and get out of the car. She did as he said, throwing her phone to the ground and exiting the vehicle. When Boutain looked away, she started running down the canyon road and he subsequently fired at her. Boutain told police he intended to kill her.

Austin Boutain is facing charges of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder without bail, the first of which makes him eligible for the death penalty. His wife, Kathleen Boutain, is being charged with criminal solicitation to commit murder, kidnapping and robbery, with bail set at $1,000,007.

Guo’s death was a mishap in the couple’s plan to flee to Tennessee after robbing and killing a man named Mitchell Ingle in Golden, Colorado, Kathleen admitted to police. After killing Ingle, the pair took his F350 Ford truck, guns and knives and made their way to Salt Lake City, where they handed the truck off to another couple to avoid having to dispose of it, according to charging documents. Police later found the vehicle in Rawlins, Wyoming.

In need of another getaway car, Austin and Kathleen Boutain conspired to kidnap or kill someone with a vehicle, take it and get back on the road, Kathleen told police. The couple was camping in Red Butte Canyon as they sought out their next target.

“Kathleen admitted she became irritated when Austin took too long to find and kill a victim,” charging documents said. “Kathleen stated she called Austin a ‘pussy’ because he didn’t want to take a car during the daylight hours.”

Austin then hit her, she told police, and she ran away to find help.

Investigators found numerous pieces of Ingle’s property at the campsite, including several knives and a .308 caliber Winchester rifle with ammunition. Both Austin and Kathleen were wearing Ingle’s clothing when detained.

Austin Boutain was arrested at the Salt Lake City Library the afternoon following shooting, having led police on a manhunt throughout the previous night and morning.

“Let me publicly commend Chief Dale Brophy, the Salt Lake PD, the university’s department of public safety and the local and federal enforcement officers who have responded so quickly to our campus,” said U President David Pershing in a press conference regarding the incident.

Court dates have not yet been set for either of the Boutains.

@emilyreanderson

e.anderson@dailyutahchronicle.com

Emily Anderson
Emily is the news editor at the Daily Utah Chronicle. She studies journalism and the Middle East. Since 2015, Emily has covered stories from nearly every beat at the Chronicle. She is also a contributor at SLUG Magazine, and has interned with RadioWest, KUER News and The Salt Lake Tribune.

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