Gabby Petito’s Fiancé Might Have Gotten Away With Murder Thanks to The “Zone of Death” Loophole  

Gabby Petito’s Fiancé Might Have Gotten Away With Murder Thanks to The “Zone of Death” Loophole  

I am sure you remember the young engaged couple who hopped in their van and headed off on a cross-country journey.

They thought it would be the time of their lives, but in the end, both of them ended up dead.


Brian Laundrie strangled his girlfriend Gabby Petito and left her body in the Grand Teton National Park. He returned home to Florida, and then committed suicide.

But now, The Sun is reporting that Mr. Laundrie may have actually been able to get away with murder, thanks to a loophole called “Zone of Death.”

Have you heard of it? I hadn’t until I read this piece.

Apparently, it has to do with the 6th Amendment and the right to a speedy trial.

According to The Sun, if Gabby had been murdered about 40 miles northwest of where she was found, Brian – who copped to the crime in a suicide note – might’ve escaped conviction.

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That’s because that 50-mile section – which is located inside the vast Yellowstone National Park and known as the “Zone of Death” – is populated by wildlife but no people, meaning there’s no jury pool to uphold the Sixth Amendment’s promise of a speedy and public trial.

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While there’s no indication suggesting a crime involving Laundrie or Petito took place in the “Zone of Death,” it has sparked a conversation about the lawless area in question.

Michigan State University law professor Brian C. Kalt first wrote about the “Zone of Death” theory in a 2005 paper, titled The Perfect Crime, in which he outlined what he believes is a two-part dilemma caused by numerous jurisdictional technicalities.

Yellowstone Park sits mostly within Wyoming’s borders but extends about 260 square miles into Montana and 50 square miles into Idaho.

The rectangular-shaped Idaho section in the southwest corner of the federal park is less than 50 miles away from Grand Teton Park where Gabby’s body was found.


One, states can’t prosecute felony-level crimes because Yellowstone Park is federal land, he said.

So the federal court in the District of Wyoming was given jurisdiction over the crimes committed within park’s borders.

But the sixth amendment requires a jury to be made up of people from the state of the crime, but nothing but wildlife lives in Idaho’s section of the park.

Without a jury, there’s no trial.

“People say they (prosecutors) wouldn’t just let (criminals) go, but my answer is they should. It’s in the constitution.

“I’m not trying to incentivize crime, but you can’t fix problems without pointing them out. I just want to close the damn loophole.”

Yes, we have a lot of really screwy loopholes in this country.


I am just glad that Gabby’s family didn’t have to face something like this, and “justice” was served, even if it was the coward’s way out.

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