McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

February 22, 2013

ME; Hughes County shooting death a homicide

McALESTER — The shooting death of a Hughes County man has been determined to be a homicide, according to a report issued by the Chief Medical Examiner’s office.

Joseph Henry Harden, 22, of Calvin, was arrested Jan. 20 in the January 20 shooting death of 21-year-old Michael Morris, of Stuart.

Harden was arrested in connection with the death but has still not been charged in the case and remains free on bail.

Tuesday, the state Chief Medical Examiner’s Office release autopsy results indicating a cause and manner of Morris’ death.

“The cause of death is a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of the death is homicide,” Amy Elliot, of the Chief Medical Examiners office, told the McAlester News-Capital Thursday.

Elliot said a final autopsy report has not yet been released.

Harden had not been charged in the case as of Thursday morning, more than a month after his arrest, although a probable cause affidavit was filed in the case in Hughes County District Court. He was originally held on a $100,000 bond. The amount was later reduced to $45,000 and Harden was released after posting the bond.

On Thursday, District 22 Assistant District Attorney Trish Smith said she is still waiting for information from the OSBI and the final autopsy report from the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office to complete the investigation before she can more forward with possible charges.

Officials were called to the scene of the death after a 911 call, according to an affidavit by OSBI Special Agent Adam Whitney.

“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,” the affidavit states.

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

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.

Whitney’s affidavit states that 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.”

The affidavit also states that 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.

Earlier this month, Harden’s attorney Warren Gotcher, of McAlester, said it is unusual for a person be held and released on bond without being charged. Gotcher declined further comment further on the case.

Harden is set to appear in Hughes County District Court on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • 07 30 SOUTH AVE 1.jpg 'Road Closed' means just that

    No road.
    No kidding.
    For months, signs placed along South Avenue and Country Club Road read “Road Closed Ahead” — although the roads were still open.

    Now though, the “Road Closed Ahead” signs on South Avenue, along with those on Country Club Road and Peaceable Road, mean exactly what they say.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg City extends 17th Street construction deadline to mid-September

    A Stillwater company working on the Seventeenth Street Capital Improvement Project for the city of McAlester now has until mid-September to complete the job.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Devin Mitchell McAlester man facing rape charges has hearing date set

    A preliminary hearing date has been set for a man who is facing charges of rape in the first degree (victim under age 14) and sodomy, victim under the age of 16.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • comish County to decide on liquor sales

    They’re ready to give the voters a shot.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • comish Election set to decide Sunday sales of liquor by the drink

    They’re ready to give the voters a shot.
    Pittsburg County commissioners have called a Nov. 4 Special Election date for voters to decide if they want to approve the sale of liquor by the drink on Sundays.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Randy Green Judge rules in Green case

    A Pittsburg County judge has ruled the city of McAlester acted improperly in amending former City Manager Randy Green’s retirement plan to eliminate an “additional benefit” of $1,764.49.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Road closed ROAD CLOSED

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • mhrc Okla. State student observing at MRHC

    An Oklahoma State University student is observing at McAlester Regional Health Center as part of the rural medicine track offered at the university.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • CHRIS-MORRIS-2.jpg Detective's Dispatch

    The McAlester Police Department responds to domestic violence calls on a daily basis. Many times when our officers arrive, we get very little cooperation.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • lungdoctor.png Hospital hires lung specialist

    McAlester has a new lung doctor, the first since 2008.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.