A teen who was arrested for aiding and filming his friend’s suicide is being charged with witness tampering while incarcerated.
Criminal actions while incarcerated
19 year old Tyerell Przybycien was arrested for murder and desecration of a human body after he helped his friend commit suicide in May of 2017. While in prison awaiting his trial for those charges, Przybycien wrote a letter to a friend asking them and others not to talk to authorities regarding his case. Authorities intercepted the letters, adding tampering with a witness to Przybycien’s charges.
The friends mentioned in Przybycien’s letter were all individuals who had already been questioned and who may be called to testify in his December trial. Utah Code 76-8-508 states “A person is guilty of the third degree felony of [witness tampering] if, believing that an official proceeding or investigation is pending or about to be instituted, or with the intent to prevent an official proceeding or investigation, he attempts to induce or otherwise cause another person to:
(a) testify or inform falsely;
(b) withhold any testimony, information, document, or item;
(c) elude legal process summoning him to provide evidence; or
(d) absent himself from any proceeding or investigation to which he has been summoned.”
Not included in the 5th Amendment
In the letter to friends, Przybycien urged them to use their 5th amendment rights to remain silent. While this constitutional protection can help an individual to avoid self-incrimination, it is not used to quiet information that can incriminate another. It is possible that Przybycien did not fully understand this 5th amendment right, however failure to fully research the protections under this amendment will not protect him from facing criminal charges for witness tampering. His trial is set for December 5th.