BOX ELDER COUNTY — The 61-year-old man charged with killing Dylan Rounds pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 16, weeks after helping investigators locate Rounds’ body.

According to court records, James Brenner pleaded guilty in Brigham City’s 1st District Court as part of a plea deal that resolved three separate cases. A charge for aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, was reduced to murder, a second-degree felony. Prosecutors also dismissed a charge of desecration of human remains, a third-degree felony.

Brenner also pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm as a restricted person, a third-degree felony. A charge of aggravated assault in an unrelated incident and a third charge of possession of a firearm, both third-degree felonies, were dismissed.

As part of the plea deal, Brenner had also agreed to disclose the location of Rounds’ remains. He provided information that helped law enforcement find his remains near Lucin, near the Nevada border, on April 9.

During Wednesday’s hearing, it was also revealed for the first time that Rounds died from a gunshot wound to the head. The 19-year-old went missing after May 28, 2022, and the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office spent thousands of hours investigating the case and searching for him, with assistance from agencies in multiple states.

Brenner had reportedly been “squatting” on a remote property near Rounds’ farm at the time of his disappearance. He was arrested after a pair of boots were found near the property that contained Rounds’ blood and Brenner’s DNA.

Additionally, during the investigation, officials found a time-lapse video showing Brenner cleaning a gun with blood stains on his arms and shirt. The shirt in the video was later seized and tested positively for Rounds’ DNA.

Brenner remains in the Box Elder County Jail. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 1 and could face up to life in prison.



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