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Dereck James Harrison, charged with kidnapping and slaying a Utah Transit Authority employee, had killed people and kept bloody knives as "trophies," according to allegations Harrison's father made to police before committing suicide.
Search-warrant documents filed last week provide several new details in the investigations of the death of UTA employee Kay Ricks and the abduction of five Centerville residents the same week of the killing.
According to the documents, Flint Wayne Harrison, Dereck's father, described his son as a "killer" in a May interview with police while investigators were searching for Dereck Harrison and Ricks, whose body later was found near a dirt road in southwestern Wyoming. Flint and Dereck Harrison were charged in Ricks' death, but Flint Harrison, 52, hanged himself last week in his Davis County jail cell.
Flint Harrison had surrendered to sheriff's deputies in Sublette County, Wyo., on May 14, two days after Ricks, 63, and his UTA truck disappeared during his work shift. Flint and Dereck Harrison already were wanted in Utah on suspicion of abducting a Centerville woman and her four daughters on May 10; the family had escaped and called police. Investigators say Flint and Dereck Harrison kidnapped Ricks on May 12 and used his truck to escape to Wyoming.
When Flint Harrison turned himself in, officers interviewed him without reading Miranda warnings because their priority was finding Dereck Harrison, who was considered a threat to the public. Flint Harrison told officers that his son had said he would "shoot it out with law enforcement," that Dereck Harrison "killed people in the past and how Dereck would steal a vehicle to get away," investigators wrote in a search-warrant affidavit seeking hair samples from Dereck Harrison for DNA comparison to hairs found on or near Ricks' body.
"Flint knew Dereck had two knives, both of which were covered in blood because they were his trophies," investigators wrote.
It is not clear from the documents whether Flint Harrison's mention of previous homicides addressed Ricks or other possible victims, or whether investigators believe the knives he described may have been used in Ricks' homicide. Investigators found a blood-covered utility knife under Ricks' body, according to the Harrisons' murder charges. Ricks' throat had been sliced, but the cutting wounds were mostly superficial, the charges state; the major cause of death was "crushing wounds" to his face and head, inflicted by a blunt object.
Flint Harrison went on to tell deputies "he had information regarding a murder, but wanted to speak to an attorney prior to providing more details."
The Salt Lake Tribune could not immediately reach Dereck Harrison's attorney for comment as to Flint Harrison's allegations against his son, whom officers found within hours of Flint Harrison's surrender.
Flint Harrison was not questioned during his initial interview as to his own alleged role in Ricks' death. Flint Harrison's fingerprints were on a can of spray paint inside Ricks' truck, as well as on the interior handle of the driver's door, the recent court documents state, and his DNA was on Ricks' body and on the truck steering wheel. Dereck Harrison's fingerprints were on part of the UTA truck's grill, and his DNA was on a fork and a water bottle inside the truck, investigators wrote.
Flint Harrison, of Pinedale, Wyo., was charged alongside Dereck Harrison with murder, kidnapping and theft in Wyoming's 3rd District Circuit Court over Ricks' death. They were charged with first-degree-felony aggravated kidnapping, weapons and drug offenses in Utah's 2nd District Court, over the Centerville kidnapping.
On May 10, the Harrisons allegedly invited a mother and her four teen daughters to a Centerville home, near 190 North and 700 East, for a barbecue.
The men ushered the family downstairs, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit, where the females saw strips of duct tape lined up and zip ties on the floor.
Dereck Harrison, carrying a shotgun, ordered them to get on the floor, charges state. The females did not take him seriously and went back upstairs, where Flint Harrison, carrying a baseball bat, forced them back to the basement by prodding and jabbing them with the bat.
Once on their knees, the victims' hands were bound behind their backs and their feet were tied.
Flint Harrison put duct tape over the mother's mouth and a bag over her head, charges state.
All five females tried to break their bonds and flee. The men grabbed two of them, but two girls ran to a closed garage, where one them called 911 before Flint Harrison took away the phone, charges state.
When Flint held a gun to the 18-year-old's throat, she slapped it away and ran. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old got the bat and struck Dereck Harrison, charges state. The mother and girls, bruised by blows, escaped and called for help from neighbors.
After the alleged assaults, the Harrisons eluded a police manhunt and fled the state two days later, authorities say, on the same day that Ricks and his work truck disappeared. Investigators found Dereck Harrison's cellphone inside the home, court documents state. A text to Flint Harrison's phone, sent during the alleged kidnapping, read: "One min and you can threaten them and I will come in with. The machete," investigators wrote. Search-warrant documents indicate that officers returned to the home and found a machete.