FARMINGTON, Utah – A Utah man who pleaded guilty to tying up five people in a basement was sentenced Monday to serve at least 30 years up to life in prison, but first he’ll face murder charges in Wyoming connected to the same crime spree.
Dereck James “DJ” Harrison, 23, is charged with killing a Salt Lake City train worker on the way to a remote Wyoming hideout with his father, prosecutors said.
The chain of events in May started when the two suspects invited a woman and her four daughters ages 13 to 18 to a barbeque outside Salt Lake City but then tied them up in the basement, police said.
Father and son had been using methamphetamine for days and wrongly thought the mother had reported them to authorities, according to prosecutors.
The woman and her daughters escaped. Authorities say the Harrisons went on the run and kidnapped Kay Ricks, 63, from a light rail station and forced him into his work truck.
They drove north toward the town where Flint Harrison had been living Wyoming. Ricks was beaten to death at a stop along the way, authorities have said, without disclosing an exact motive.
Both men were arrested in Wyoming after a manhunt, but Flint Harrison killed himself in a Utah jail in July.
Dereck Harrison pleaded guilty last month to five counts of aggravated kidnapping and agreed not to fight extradition to Wyoming.
Prosecutors dropped 11 other charges against him, including drug possession and assault, in exchange.
The Wyoming case could carry the death penalty, and prosecutors are expected to decide whether to pursue it after Dereck Harrison arrives.