James Brenner Murders Dylan Rounds

James Brenner
James Brenner

James Brenner is a killer from Utah who was convicted of the murder of Dylan Rounds

According to court documents Dylan Rounds would disappear from a farm in 2022. The body of Dylan Rounds would eventually be found when James Brenner would be arrested and agreed to show authorities where his body was located in exchange from reducing the charges against him

At the time of the disappearance of Dylan Rounds James Brenner was squatting on the property and according to the Rounds family Dylan would help the older man out time after time

James Brenner would never tell police what led up to the murder of Dylan Rounds however after he pleaded guilty to the murder he was given a sweetheart deal of one to fifteen years in prison. Brenner received three one to fifteen year sentences for on two counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person and for the murder meaning that Brenner is eligible for parole after serving three years. The judge in the case would tell Brenner that he would tell them to keep him as long as possible but even still that will only be fifteen years

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James Brenner Case

James Brenner, who pleaded guilty in May to killing Dylan Rounds, has been sentenced to one to 15 years for the murder.

Judge Brandon Maynard, though, told Brenner that he’ll recommend to parole board officials when the time comes for a parole hearing “that they keep you as long as they can.”

Brenner, 60, appearing in 1st District Court in Brigham City for sentencing on Monday, also received two sentences of one to 15 years imprisonment in a separate case on two counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, to be served consecutively to the sentence in the murder case.

Brenner was living on Dylan Rounds’ property in Lucin in Box Elder County when Dylan, who was farming in the area, disappeared on May 28, 2022. As part of a plea deal that reduced the key charge he faced in the matter from aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, to murder, a second-degree felony, Brenner agreed to disclose the location of Rounds’ remains, which were recovered in the Lucin area on April 9.

Rounds’ father, Justin Rounds, spoke at the sentencing, noting the assistance his son had offered Brenner at times. Brenner, being held in the Weber County jail, according to court records, appeared at the hearing in an orange-and-white jumpsuit.

“Dylan helped you out so many times … and this is how you repay him,” Justin Rounds said. “I just hope for the rest of your life you think about this.”

Brenner did not address the court and has not disclosed additional information about what transpired leading to Dylan Rounds’ death. When Maynard asked Brenner if he would stand and face the family of Rounds and other friends and supporters gathered in the courtroom, he declined. As Justin Rounds put it, Brenner has tried “to blame everything on circumstances or whatever.”

Rhonda Dequier of the Missing in America Network, which has worked with the Rounds family in the aftermath of Dylan Rounds’ death, also spoke at sentencing, lauding the young man, who was 19 when he was killed. Dylan Rounds had paid Brenner to work on his farm, she said, and even shared meals with him at times.

“He was a dreamer, a builder, a visionary,” she said. “His spirit was as vibrant and enduring as the sunflowers he loved.”

Dequier also decried what she described as the slow initial response to Dylan Rounds’ disappearance by law enforcement authorities and Brenner’s lack of empathy for Rounds’ family, a sentiment echoed by Justin Rounds. “No empathy for them at any time. That is who this man truly is,” Dequier said, charging that “self-preservation” has been the sole motivation guiding Brenner.

Candice Cooley, Dylan Rounds’ mother, didn’t speak at sentencing but addressed the media afterward. “It’s like I said before, it’s not near enough time,” she said.

Still, she was encouraged by Maynard’s statement that he would recommend to parole board officials that Brenner serve the maximum sentence possible. “I don’t think Brenner will ever get out of jail,” she said.

Cooley, who lives in Twin Falls, Idaho, wonders how big her son’s farm would have eventually gotten.

“I just can’t imagine what it would have been two years later after what he’d already built out there,” she said.

She said she’s busy in advocacy work for missing people in the wake of the disappearance and death of her son, originally from eastern Idaho. “We have so much stuff going on,” she said.

She’s working with Idaho lawmakers in crafting legislation in the state, though she didn’t specify the nature of the effort. She’s also helping with other efforts to search for missing people around the country.


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