Man pleads guilty, in Wyoming court, to killing UTA worker
(KUTV) Dereck James "DJ" Harrison pleaded guilty Monday to kidnapping and killing a UTA employee.
Harrison, a Utah man, was in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in connection with the death of 63-year-old Utah man Kay Ricks. He pleaded guilty to first degree murder and kidnapping, two of four charges filed against him.
The plea agreement states that he admits to two of the four crimes he would have faced. In exchange, it is agreed the sentence will be life without parole for the murder charge and 20 to 22 years for kidnapping, one sentence running after the other. The murder charge carried a possible death sentence.
Harrison was sentenced to at least 30 years in a Utah prison last year after pleading guilty to tying up a woman and her four daughters in a basement.
DJ Harrison's father, Flint Harrison, also was charged in both cases but killed himself in jail in July.
Flint, 51, and DJ, 22, Harrison were charged with first degree murder, kidnapping and possession of stolen property in Wyoming.
According to the Lincoln County Attorney, Ricks was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. An item consistent with those injuries has been recovered, but officials did not release details about the object. Ricks' body was found near Kemmerer on May 17, 2016.
The Harrisons were initially booked on May 19 on five counts of aggravated kidnapping and five counts of aggravated assault.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
The father and son were originally accused of kidnapping and beating a mother and four teen daughters in Centerville, where the fled after the late May attack.
Not long after, Kay Ricks disappeared from a TRAX station in Salt Lake City, his cell phone found near the train platform. Attention shifted to a murder investigation in Wyoming about a week later, with the discovery of Ricks' body and his UTA truck.
Harrison agreed to $15,730.30 in restitution payable to the Ricks family.