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Man charged in Utah rail worker’s killing found dead in jail

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY – One of two men charged in the kidnapping and murder of a Utah train worker has died after hanging himself in a northern Utah jail with a bedsheet, authorities said Monday.

Flint Wayne Harrison, 52, was found hanging in his cell shortly after midnight Monday at the Davis County Jail in in Farmington, Utah, about 20 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Sgt. DeeAnn Servey, a spokeswoman for the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, said Flint Harrison was not on any kind of suicide watch and did not have a cellmate. She declined to say when he had last been checked by jail staff, citing a pending investigation into the death.

Harrison, and his son, 22-year-old Dereck James “DJ” Harrison, are accused of abducting 63-year-old Kay Ricks in Salt Lake City and killing him in May in southwestern Wyoming.

The two were being held in Utah where they were set to stand trial this year on 16 separate drug and kidnapping charges. They were then expected to be transferred to Wyoming to face charges in Ricks’ death. Wyoming prosecutors said last week that they wouldn’t announce whether they’d seek the death penalty against the Harrisons until they were transferred from Utah to face the Wyoming charges.

Servey said the younger Harrison was notified of his father’s death and placed on a suicide watch.

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.

Flint Harrison had not yet entered a plea to those charges. He was due in court Aug. 9, where prosecutors were set to lay out their evidence against him.

His son has pleaded not guilty to the Utah charges.

Prosecutors say that after the kidnapping of the Utah women, the Harrisons abducted Ricks, a longtime employee of the Utah Transit Authority, and took him in his work truck to Wyoming.

Wyoming charging documents say 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.

Servey said the neighboring Weber County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Flint Harrison’s death. The State Medical Examiner will also conduct an autopsy.

Servey said it’s the second death at the jail this year.

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