Michael Lynch, the former Teton County man facing felony burglary, theft and other charges, was found dead in Colorado this month.
His cause of death is pending an investigation and autopsy in El Paso County, where Lynch was living with his mother while on pretrial release.
Lynch last appeared in Teton County District Court in January, when his attorney Elisabeth Trefonas argued for a July 2021 trial date.
Lynch’s trial had been postponed several times due to the pandemic.
He waived his right to a speedy trial last year in exchange for pretrial release.
Lynch had voiced concerns through his defense about his right to a fair trial given COVID-19 restrictions in the courtroom.
All local court hearings have been held virtually for almost a year.
Lynch had a few alcohol- and drug-related run-ins with law enforcement in 2015 and 2018, according to records, but in 2019 he was charged with several counts of burglary and theft because detectives suspected he stole $50,000 worth of items from his landlord’s house while the homeowner was out of town.
According to investigators at the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Lynch was caught after he tried to pawn some stolen coins in Idaho Falls.
As detectives continued their investigation, they said they could connect Lynch to several additional high dollar thefts.
The defendant owned Teton Precision Scapes, and police said many of the burglary victims were Lynch’s clients.
Hundreds of pieces of evidence related to the case remain in the custody of the Teton County Sheriff’s Office.
Until a death certificate is available and the court cases are vacated, the items will remain in police custody.
Once the burglary cases are dissolved, the evidence will get returned to owners or disputed in court.