PRICE — A Carbon County man who killed his brother and then lived with the man's decomposing body for 17 days may have committed the crime because of his own addiction to prescription drugs.
Kurt Alan Morris, 55, pleaded guilty Monday in 7th District Court to murder, a first-degree felony. He asked to be sentenced immediately and received 15 years to life in prison.
The body of Jack Roger Morris, 50, was discovered Sept. 4 when Carbon County sheriff's deputies responded to a call at a mobile home the men shared in Carbonville. A neighbor reported that a hose was strung from the tailpipe of an idling pickup truck into the home.
A deputy entered the home and found Kurt Morris unresponsive on a bedroom floor. Deputies and paramedics were able to revive him and asked whether anyone else lived there.
Morris initially said he was alone, but later told emergency workers his brother was inside.
A deputy re-entered the home and found a second bedroom that had plastic sheeting over the door and was sealed by duct tape. Inside the bedroom, deputies found the body of Jack Morris on a bed.
Kurt Morris killed his brother by shooting him three times in the head with a shotgun, Carbon County prosecutor Jeremy Humes said Monday. There was no sign of a struggle, he said.
An autopsy showed Jack Morris died Aug. 18 — more than two weeks before his body was found.
After his arrest, Kurt Morris told investigators he has terminal cancer and had developed an addiction to prescription painkillers, according to Humes.
"His brother had helped him get those, was the financial resource for getting those pain pills," Humes said.
But the brothers had a falling out of some kind, and Jack Morris planned to move out of the area. That would have left Kurt Morris without the means to obtain more painkillers and was likely the reason he killed his brother, Humes said.
"It's a very unusual case. I've never seen anything quite like this," the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney David Allred said he talked to his client about exploring a possible mental-illness defense of some kind, but Morris told him no.
"He felt like he understood where he was at and wanted to take responsibility and get (the case) over with as quickly as he could," Allred said.