Hearings continue in murder-for-hire case

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Utah’s 4th District Court in downtown Provo.

Hearings continue in the case of two men arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a Provo man in alleged  murder-for-hire plot.

Danny Logue, 47, and Darrell Morris, 40, were in court again May 12 as their attorneys argued a motion to move their trial to another venue, in fear that local media coverage would not allowed for a fair and unbiased jury trial. Judge Derek P. Pullan of the Provo 4th District Court, denied the motion, saying, “The public has not been saturated by a large amount of publicity.” The jury trial for Logue and Morris will begin in August.

Police arrested Logue and Morris back in May 2011 in connection with a shooting. Both men are in prison awaiting a jury trial, and both have pleaded not guilty. The murder happened only two miles from BYU’s campus.

On May 16, 2011, police responded to a phone call about an unresponsive man on the front porch of a south Provo residence. The man, identified as Andy Purcell, had been shot in the forehead. Medics took Purcell to the hospital, where he later died from his injury.

Members of Purcell’s family pointed to Yuri F. Lara as a suspect in his death. Lara and Purcell had been known to deal drugs together and had recently been in a dispute over money. Police interviewed Lara about the shooting, and Lara denied any involvement. His wife reported that he was home at the time of the murder.

A confidential informant later approached police with reliable information about the death of Purcell. The informant told police that Lara had contracted Darrell Morris to carry out the hit on Purcell. The informant also told police that Lara paid Morris half an ounce of meth before the hit and would pay another half-ounce after.

The day of the shooting, upon learning that Purcell has been shot and taken to the hospital, Lara paid Morris the other half-ounce of meth and allegedly requested that Morris assault a second person.

The police subpoenaed Lara’s cell phone records and found four calls between Morris and Lara that occurred on the day of the shooting. Officers later obtained Morris’s phone information and were able to track his movement using cell towers in the area. The phone data showed that Morris’s phone was close to the victim’s home at the time of the shooting and that it left the area a few minutes before police received the first reports of shots fired.

Police arrested Morris and Lara in connection with the shooting at the end of May 2011. Upon arrest officers found heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy in Lara’s possession, some on his person and others in secret compartments he had fashioned into his car. Once booked into prison officers found amphetamine, cocaine and oxycodone in a package hidden in Lara’s anus.

Later evidence showed that Danny Logue was with Morris at the time of the shooting and the firearm used to kill Purcell belonged to Logue. Fourth District Court records indicate that after the murder Morris and Logue hid the firearm behind a local convenience store in a woman’s purse. Logue later retrieved the weapon and gave it to a member of the Aryan Nation gang, named SAW. Both Morris and Logue are members.

Trial for the two men is set to begin in August.

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