Harrison pleads guilty in federal court in Utah

Jul 6, 2017, 8:27 PM
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FEDERAL COURTHOUSE – A quick plea deal and mandatory life sentence was handed down to one of the men accused of carjacking and kidnapping Kay Ricks last year, then killing him in Wyoming.

Federal prosecutors say Derek James Harrison was already sentenced to serve a life sentence for Ricks’ death in Wyoming.  However, Assistant US Attorney Michael Thorpe says they couldn’t be certain Harrison wouldn’t have a chance to appeal that sentence.  He says, ‘We want to ensure that if, for any reason, something like that would have happened, that he would never have been out of prison.”

The deal accepted by Harrison prohibits him from appealing the sentence for the carjacking and the kidnapping.  Harrison appears calm and simply said “yes” when Judge Robert Shelby asked him if he was certain he wanted to accept the deal.

Inside the courtroom, a tearful Richard Massey represented the Ricks family.  He expressed gratitude and thanked Harrison for pleading guilty and avoiding a trial.  Outside the courtroom, he said, “We really are grateful, considering what would have to be heard in court about the evidence that was found about the way Kay’s life was taken.”

Harrison’s grandmother also spoke at the sentencing.  She says Harrison was filled with drugs by the one person that was supposed to protect him, his father, Flint.

(Photo Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News May 2017)

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Harrison pleads guilty in federal court in Utah