CHEYENNE (AP) — Prosecutors say it will likely be next year before a father and son stand trial in Wyoming on murder and kidnapping charges in the abduction and slaying of a Utah train worker.
Flint Wayne Harrison, 51, and Dereck James “DJ” Harrison, 22, are accused of abducting 63-year-old Kay Ricks in Salt Lake City and killing him in May in southwestern Wyoming.
Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred said this week he won’t announce whether he will seek the death penalty against the Harrisons until they’re transferred from Utah to face the Wyoming charges.
Utah prosecutor Jeff Thomson said Wednesday the Harrisons are set to stand trial there later this year on separate drug and kidnapping charges. Both men are facing 16 charges in Utah.
The Harrisons are accused of luring a woman and her four teenage daughters to their house outside Salt Lake City on May 10 with an invitation to a barbecue, then tying them up and beating them with a baseball bat. They had been using drugs heavily and apparently thought the mother had reported them to police, authorities have said.
Utah prosecutors are set to lay out their evidence against Flint Harrison at an Aug. 9 hearing. His son has waived his right to such a hearing, and is due back in court on Aug. 22.
Thomson said the Harrisons could go on trial in Utah as soon as November. If that happens, the Utah case could be resolved early next year.
Allred’s office filed criminal charges against the Harrisons last month in Wyoming. The charges, supported by a sworn statement from law enforcement, claim the Harrisons abducted Ricks, a longtime employee of the Utah Transit Authority, and took him in his work truck to Wyoming.
The charges allege the Harrisons beat Ricks to death on their way to a remote Wyoming hideout.
The pair was arrested in Pinedale, Wyoming, after a five-day manhunt. An autopsy found that Ricks died from head injuries and also suffered cuts to his neck.
Allred said his office would have 120 days to bring the Harrisons to trial if they’re convicted in Utah and sent to Wyoming.
“I assume, if we are under those tight deadlines, we will probably announce the decision the moment they hit Wyoming whether or not we are seeking the death penalty and go from there,” he said.
The Harrisons don’t have lawyers representing them in Wyoming yet, a court official said. Attempts to reach their Utah defense lawyers weren’t immediately successful Wednesday.
Written by: BEN NEARY and LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press
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