DJ Harrison sentenced in kidnapping, heads to Wyoming for murder charge in UTA worker’s death

Posted at 9:58 AM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 23:48:42-04

FARMINGTON -- DJ Harrison, accused of kidnapping a Centerville family, leading police on a manhunt and the murder of a Utah Transit Authority worker, has been sentenced to 30-years-to-life in prison for crimes committed here in Utah.

But before he begins serving that sentence, Harrison will be extradited to Wyoming to face a murder charge in the kidnapping and death of UTA employee Kay Ricks.

"I just wanted to say I'm so sorry for all the pain I've caused to all my victims," Harrison said in court Monday, blaming it on a meth addiction.

His lawyer argued for all of his sentences to be served concurrently, blaming the crime spree on Harrison's dead father, Flint, whom he said committed the assault.

DJ Harrison (courtroom pool photo)

DJ Harrison (courtroom pool photo)

One of the victims testified that DJ Harrison held a shotgun to her face.

"You will have to live with the choices that you made," she said. "You will never, hopefully, never have to do this to another family."

She ended her statement telling Harrison: "I'm just glad the authorities found you before my husband did."

Supporters in the audience applauded her statement. Harrison showed no emotion.

Monday's sentencing ended part of a crime spree that began in May when a woman and her four daughters were tied up and beaten inside a Centerville home. The victims escaped and notified authorities. DJ Harrison and his father, Flint, fled and Centerville police launched a manhunt.

Kay Ricks (family photo)

Kay Ricks (family photo)

That manhunt ultimately extended into Wyoming, when a truck belonging to Ricks was found in a rural area. Prosecutors accuse the father and son of kidnapping Ricks in Utah, driving his vehicle to Wyoming, slitting his throat and beating him to death. His body was found near a road about 16 miles south of Kemmerer.

Flint Harrison turned himself in to police in Wyoming. Soon after, DJ Harrison was taken into custody. In July, while in the Davis County Jail awaiting charges connected to the Utah kidnapping, Flint Harrison killed himself.

Inside the courtroom on Monday were Wyoming prosecutors, who will begin prosecuting DJ Harrison for murder in Ricks' death. DJ Harrison had previously waived extradition.

"Our hearts go out to the mother and her daughters. We are grateful they survived," said Richard Massey, a spokesman for Kay Ricks' family. "Kay was not as lucky."

In court, prosecutors revealed that Ricks' throat was slit but the cause of death was a brutal beating. Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred told reporters that he planned to proceed with the murder case against Harrison as soon as he can be extradited.

Wyoming prosecutors have filed two counts of murder against Harrison. One is a lesser offense, leaving it up to a jury to determine if he killed Ricks or was simply an accomplice. Either charge carries a potential death sentence if he is convicted, although Allred said no decision had been made whether to seek it.

"We are still in that process. We will have those discussions when he hits Wyoming," Allred said.