Kenai man pleads guilty to negligent homicide

A Kenai man pled guilty to a charge of negligent homicide related a Soldotna man who died from a drug overdose in 2015.

Richard Paul Morrison, 37, pled guilty to a charge of negligent homicide by controlled substance in Kenai Superior Court during a Thursday hearing. Judge Anna Moran held off on sentencing him, though, until the victim’s family could be notified.

The change of plea is part of a plea deal in connection to a federal case in which Morrison has already been sentenced to 63 months in prison. The U.S. District Court for Alaska in Anchorage convicted Morrison on charges of dealing methamphetamines, heroin and prescription drugs and possessing an illegal sawed-off shotgun, the product of an Alaska State Trooper investigation into drug trafficking in the Kenai area. He and four others were arrested in connection with dealing drugs in January 2016, and he was arrested on the negligent homicide charge in June 2016 after being released from jail on bail for the January charges.

Morrison will receive four years of prison time for the conviction, to be served consecutively with his term for the federal conviction, and has to forfeit anything seized in the investigation.

Moran said during the hearing Thursday she didn’t want to sentence him yet because the attorneys had not managed to make personal contact with the victim’s family to discuss the sentence.

“I don’t want to have to sentence him and then have to resentence him because we failed to notify the (family),” she said.

The court scheduled the sentencing for Oct. 19 at 9:30 a.m.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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