Jeremy Best appears shirtless in court; documents detail gruesome new details in murder case
This story courtesy of EastIdahoNews.com. It is used with permission.
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VICTOR – A man accused of murdering his wife and her unborn baby appeared shirtless in court via Zoom Monday.
Jeremy Albert Best, 48, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of his wife Kali Randall, and her unborn child.
Police say Best also kidnapped his 10-month-old baby, Zeke Best. The infant was later found dead nearby where Best was arrested in Bonneville County over the weekend. Zeke’s death is being investigated as an intentional homicide, according to Bonneville County Prosecutor Randy Neal.
Zeke’s cause of death has not yet been determined, and an autopsy is being performed Monday in Ada County. If the baby was killed in Bonneville County, Best could face charges in that jurisdiction.
“Since any immediate threat to the public has been addressed, the prosecuting attorneys have time to carefully determine the next steps in the legal process,” Neal said. “Everyone involved in the investigation has been impacted by this discovery and are laser focused on achieving a just consequence for the actions which led to ‘Baby Zeke’s’ death.”
Best appeared for his initial appearance on camera from the Bonneville County Jail in front of Magistrate Judge Jason Walker, who was in a courtroom in Driggs with Teton County Prosecutor Bailey Smith.
“The murders of Kali Randall and her unborn baby are arguably the most horrific crimes committed in Teton County in recent history,” said Smith during the hearing.
Jim Archibald, a death-penalty certified defense attorney, and John Malek, a defense attorney, also appeared on Zoom. Both had been appointed by Walker as Best’s attorneys.
During the hearing, Best appeared very fidgety, continually running his hands through his hair, scratching his face, and at times crying.
Best also claimed Archibald is “not his attorney” and asked Walker what the charges were at the beginning of the hearing.
Walker ordered a mental competency evaluation for Best, which was requested by the defense. The prosecution did not object.
At the end of the hearing, Best was seen holding up a hand signal with his pinky and index finger pointed up.
Best is being held without bond and is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 18 at 9:30 a.m. It is not clear whether the hearing will be over Zoom or in person.
If convicted, Best could face the death penalty.
Court documents reveal graphic details about the death of Kali Randall and her unborn child.
On Thursday at approximately 11:41 p.m., a deputy with the Teton County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to 4600 Skyline Loop in Victor for a report of a 911 hang-up call, according to court documents.
Dispatch told the deputy that there were “loud sounds of yelling in the background of the phone call and then silence.”
After further review of the 911 call recording, before a dispatcher answers the call, a woman can reportedly be heard repeating “Jeremy” and “Jeremy no,” according to the police report.
A male voice then repeats “yes” and then yells, “get the f*** back, you’re gonna get shot,” before saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
While a deputy was on the way to the home, court documents say he only passed one car and observed a partial license plate of 1T39.
According to an Amber Alert sent out on Friday, the car Best was driving was a 1995 black Chevy Tahoe with Idaho license plate #1T39349.
According to the deputy, the car turned from Skyline Loop onto East 5000 South and continued west toward Idaho Highway 33.
The deputy arrived at the house at approximately 11:55 p.m. The house is located between two shops on the north and south of the property. The shop on the north side is known to be Best’s business, Jeremy’s Auto Repair, according to police reports.
Court documents say the deputy noticed a person across the street standing outside.
The person identified himself as a neighbor of Best and Randall, and told the deputy he was in bed when he heard a man and women fighting across the street at the Best house.
The neighbor identified Jeremy and Kali as the house’s residents and said they had a 7- to 8-month-old child.
According to the police report, the neighbor heard Kali yell, “Jeremy, stop it, you have a baby!” before hearing “about five gunshots that sounded like they came from outside.”
The neighbor says he got out of bed and looked out the window, where he saw a black car backing out of the driveway and leaving southbound toward East 5000 South.
The deputy then returned to the Best house and knocked on the west and south doors but did not get a response.
He was walking back down the driveway when he located an unresponsive woman, Kali, “laying on her left side on the ground under the lean-to of the east side of the north shop.”
The deputy reports he noticed a large pool of blood underneath and around the body, which was lying next to an open door to the shop.
According to court documents, the body had what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds in the area of her right breast and right side. The deputy rolled the body over and attempted CPR but was unsuccessful.
Police reports say the body was “very recently deceased as her body was malleable and not rigid at all.”
Additional deputies arrived and cleared the inside of the two shops and the house. A deputy noticed a breaker box on the west side of the residence and realized the power to the house had been shut off.
Inside the house, deputies say they found a leather pistol holder on the floor near the west entrance but did not find the shooter or the baby.
A few feet from the empty holster, officials found a black revolver with a black handle on the kitchen table. They also reportedly noticed a large gun safe in the master bedroom with the door open.
While searching for information to send out an Amber Alert, officials noticed a cell phone on the floor in the hallway that “was bent in half with the glass broken.”
Officials found a Social Security card in what appeared to be the baby’s bedroom. They then left the house.
Before leaving, a deputy noticed an exterior camera on the northwest corner of the residence facing toward the driveway and a second exterior camera on the southwest corner of the north shop facing toward the driveway and home.
It is not clear what the footage captured.
The neighbor later confirmed the black car he saw leaving was a black Chevrolet Tahoe. Deputies confirmed Kali was the registered owner of a 1995 black Chevy Tahoe with Idaho license plate #1T39349, registered to the same house’s address.
Deputies also found a white Chevrolet car, which Best is said to have been driving at 11:56 a.m. that same day, when Bonneville County deputies responded to a call in Swan Valley where Jeremy, “appeared unclothed in the Swan Valley General Store,” according to court documents.
Video of the incident, sent to EastIdahoNews.com, shows a fully naked Best slouching on the store’s counter next to the cash register and grabbing a cigarette before being escorted outside the building by several people.
The Teton County Coroner and detectives with the Idaho State Police say that after further examination of the body, there appeared to be at least “three gunshot wounds with entrance and/or exit wounds to her back, right breast and right side.”
They also noticed that both of her knees had abrasions, and there appeared to be scratch marks on her lower abdomen, according to the police report.
The coroner was also able to confirm with Kali’s OB-GYN provider that she was 28 weeks pregnant as of the day she died.
On Saturday around 9:15 a.m, Bonneville County dispatch received a call from a group of hunters, saying they had found a man in a sleeping bag on the side of the road, according to a news release from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.
“The caller stated the man was naked and making odd statements,” officials stated.
Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area, which was on Kepps Crossing Road, near the Dan Creek Road east of Idaho Falls. After making contact with the the hunters, deputies identified the man as Best.
“Best was secured and placed in a patrol car until Idaho Falls Ambulance personnel arrived to treat him for any injuries,” officials stated.
The black Chevy SUV Best had been driving was found nearby. Deputies also located Zeke Best, who was dead. It is unclear if Zeke’s body was in the SUV.