McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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January 24, 2013

Man shot to death in Hughes County

McALESTER — A weekend party turned to tragedy Sunday, ending in the death of one man and the arrest of another in Hughes County.

Michael “Eric” Morris, 21, of Hughes County was fatally shot Sunday and Joseph Henry Harden, 22, has been arrested in connection with the death. Harden had not been charged by presstime, although a probable cause affidavit has been filed in the case in Hughes County District Court.

“In a 911 call to the Hughes County sheriff, Harden said he had killed his best friend but it was an accident and he had been drinking alcohol,” states the affidavit by OSBI Special Agent Adam Whitney.

The case was also investigated by the Hughes County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Whitney, Morris and Harden were among guests at a Saturday night party at home near Calvin. Most had left  before the incident took place at about 6:15 a.m., according to the affidavit.

Morris, Harden and another man were talking in the kitchen when Morris went outside and retrieved a .38 caliber revolver and brought it inside with a box of ammunition, the affidavit states.

As Morris sat on a kitchen counter and Harden stood nearby, holding the revolver, the gun discharged, hitting Morris in the head,” court records state.

Morris slumped forward and there was “a lot of blood coming from Morris’s head ... and he fell to the floor,” court records state.

Harden then called 911, court records state.

“While the investigation was ongoing, Harden (told) Hughes County Sheriff Kenny Snyder that Morris held the gun (under) his chin and told Harden to pull the trigger, but did not know the gun was loaded.” court records state.

Harden was arrested Sunday and remained at Hughes County Jail at presstime.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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