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Plea deal struck in Provo man’s death

By Michael McFall

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jul 16 2014 01:26PM
Updated Jul 16, 2014 08:46PM

A man hired to beat up a Provo man, who died after someone else shot him, has been sentenced to prison for up to 15 years.

Darrell Morris, 41, pleaded guilty Tuesday in 4th District Court to manslaughter — instead of aggravated murder — and obstructing justice, which are second-degree felonies.

Morris also pleaded guilty to possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony.

He was immediately sentenced to one to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter and obstruction charges and up to five years on the weapons charge — all to be served concurrently.

On May 15, 2011, Yuri Lara told Morris that 32-year-old Andy Purcell "snitched on him to police," and asked Morris to beat him up in exchange for methamphetamine, according to Morris’ plea agreement.

Morris admitted that on May 16, 2011, he and another man, Danny Logue, found Purcell on the front porch of the victims’ mother’s home.

"I took a baseball bat and, unbeknownst to me, Danny Logue took a gun," Morris’ plea agreement reads. "… Andy Purcell was outside the home on the front porch. Andy Purcell began yelling at us that he knew why we were there and threatened to call the police."

Morris and Logue were about 25 feet from the porch when "to my surprise Danny Logue took out a gun and shot three or four rounds at Andy Purcell," according to Morris’ plea agreement. "When Andy Purcell fell to the ground we ran."

Purcell, who was struck in the forehead by a bullet, died the next day.

Orem Police Officer Scott Spieth later testified that Purcell was not the person who informed on Lara, rather it was a woman who was caught with methamphetamine.

Lara, 35, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and drug possession charges, is serving up to life in prison.

Logue, 48, who has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges, has a hearing scheduled for Monday morning.

In exchange for Morris’ pleas, prosecutors dismissed three other charges: knowingly being present when a controlled substance is used and two counts of possession with intent to distribute.

Twitter: @mikeypanda

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