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Wyoming digest

May 17, 2017 - From wire reports

Utah train worker's killer gets life term

KEMMERER (AP) -- A Utah man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole in Wyoming one year after authorities say he and his father killed a Utah rail line worker while on the run from police following the kidnapping of a mother and her daughters.

23-year-old Dereck James "DJ" Harrison was sentenced Wednesday in Kemmerer, near where the man was killed.

Harrison pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder in the slaying of 63-year-old Kay Porter Ricks and avoided the death penalty. Authorities say he and his father forced Ricks into his work truck, then beat him to death on their way to a remote Wyoming hideout where they were eventually captured.

Harrison's father, Flint Harrison, killed himself in a Utah jail last year.

DJ Harrison was convicted last year in Utah for the kidnaping of the woman and her daughters. The women survived, but were beaten while kept in a basement. The Harrisons were fleeing police after that crime when they kidnapped Ricks.

UW's frosh class likely to set record

(AP) -- Freshman enrollment at the University of Wyoming is expected to increase by nearly 200 students this fall, creating the largest incoming class in the school's 130-year history.

The projections reverse a drop of nearly 150 freshmen at a time when the school is facing budget cuts. The school also expects the number of transfer students to increase by about 100.

School officials attribute the boost to university outreach.

Staff members were in three-quarters of the state's high schools on May 1 on signing day, when students officially committed to attending UW. The school also is releasing scholarship notices faster and putting faculty in touch with admitted or interested students.

Horses still missing after barrel race

JACKSON (AP) -- Wyoming authorities have not been able to find two horses that escaped from the Teton County Fairgrounds. The horses had gone missing Sunday after a memorial barrel race. They escaped from an electric fence enclosure.

Shyla Nicholas, an owner of the horses, says she does not think they were stolen. She says they were within the fence in the middle of the night and were gone when she got up to feed them. Both gelding horses are 8 years old. One of them, Salt, is solid gray and the other, Boots, is sorrel with a white strip down its face. Both are branded with the number "41."

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