Convicted murderer sentenced to prison time for death of Dylan Rounds

Posted at 2:05 PM, Jul 01, 2024

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — James Brenner was sentenced Monday in Box Elder County after he pleaded guilty to murdering 19-year-old Dylan Rounds.

In May, Brenner entered a plea agreement and received a reduction from first-degree felony aggravated murder to second-degree felony murder in the death of Rounds. Brenner was also convicted of two weapons-related charges, second-degree felonies.

Brenner was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison for each of the three counts he pleaded guilty to. He was also given credit for the jail time he already served.

As part of the agreement, prison time is mandatory for Brenner, and sentences for each charge will run consecutively.

"Dylan helped you out so many times, whether it be hauling sugar beets or potatoes or whatever and this is how you repay him?" said Justin Rounds, Dylan's father.

Brenner declined to speak during the sentencing hearing, relying solely on the words of his attorney.

A representative for the Rounds family spoke during the hearing, calling Dylan a "dreamer, a builder, a visionary."

The representative also called Brenner's actions "calculated," and said Dylan's tragic loss has been deeply felt by the family.

The prosecution said Brenner's remorse has been "totally absent" in court proceedings, saying that even though it's a "relief" to finally have gotten to this point, it doesn't change that a life was tragically lost.

"The lack of remorse, it's really quite evil," said one of the prosecutors. "Mr. Brenner has demonstrated that is unredeemable."

The judge requested that Brenner stand and face the gallery which was filled with family and friends of Rounds. Through his lawyer, Brenner declined to fulfill the request.

"You would think it having to be the last time he would face us that he would've done that," said Candice Cooley, Dylan's mom.

"I am going to recommend to the parole board that they keep you as long as they legally can," the judge said during the sentencing.

Restitution costs are to be determined.

Rounds was last seen over Memorial Day weekend in 2022 in Montello, Nevada where he recently moved to start his own farm.

Nearly a year after his disappearance, Brenner, who had reportedly been "squatting" on a property near Rounds' farm, was arrested and charged.

A pair of boots with Rounds' blood and a time-lapse video was discovered showing Brenner cleaning a gun with blood stains on his arms and shirt.

In April of 2024, Rounds' family reported that Brenner led authorities to where Rounds was buried as part of a plea agreement.Skeletal remains were located in a remote area in Box Elder County and later confirmed to belong to Rounds.

Rounds' family previously told FOX 13 News that their number one priority was the recovery of his remains in order to move forward.

A few months ago, the family started Dylan's Legacy, a non-profit organization to assist other families in their search for missing loved ones.

Cooley has already begun meeting with legislators in Utah and Idaho to make changes to state law.