McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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January 28, 2013

Bond set in fatal shooting case

McALESTER — A $100,000 bond was set Thursday for man arrested in Sunday’s fatal shooting of a Hughes County man.

 Joseph Henry Harden, 22, was arrested Sunday in the shooting death of Michael “Eric” Morris, 21, of Hughes County, according to court records. He had not been charged in the case at presstime Thursday afternoon.

Harden was shot early Sunday morning after a party at a home near Calvin.

On Thursday, Hughes County Sheriff Kenny Snyder said a medical examiner’s report about Morris’ death has been released.

“It appears the bullet did enter behind the ear and went upward and did not exit,” Snyder said.

According to court records, Harden told Snyder on Sunday that Morris held the gun under Morris’ chin and told Harden to pull the trigger, but Harden did not know the gun was loaded.

“As Morris sat on a kitchen counter and Harden stood nearby, holding the revolver, the gun discharged, hitting Morris in the head,” states an affidavit filed in the case by an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation investigator.

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

“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.

Snyder the case is still under investigation by his office and by the OSBI.

Although no charges have been filed, Harden is being held at Hughes County jail in lieu of $100,000, a bond set Wednesday during a probable cause and bond hearing, according to a spokeswoman at the District 22 District Attorneys office.

Harden is set for an initial appearance in the case at Hughes County Court on Feb. 5 at 9 a.m.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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