Prosecutors Could Seek Death Penalty In Murder of Beacon Hill Woman and Infant

Although police have not yet arrested Daniel Thomas Hicks, King County prosecutors filed aggravated murder charges against Hicks earlier today for the shooting deaths of his girlfriend Jennifer Morgan and their 13-week-old daughter Emma Hicks. The details in the charging documents are horrifying.

Court records say Morgan and Hicks lived in the basement of the Beacon Hill home—where Morgan grew up—for the last few years. Hicks had been out of work for over a year and, court documents say, the couple’s relationship had become “rocky and abusive,” and had only gotten worse when Morgan became pregnant. Hicks was apparently upset that their baby was a girl and not a boy, and had recently become depressed and suicidal.

On Monday, Morgan’s mother—who also lives at the home—left for work. Morgan was going to ask Hicks to move out, court records say.

When Morgan’s mother returned home that night, she didn’t hear her daughter or granddaughter in the basement and assumed they were asleep.

The next morning, the grandmother went downstairs and found Morgan dead on a couch.

The grandmother ran upstairs and called 911. When police arrived, they found that Morgan had been shot 12 times.  Morgan’s 13-week-old daughter was laying next to her. She had been shot at least seven times.

According to court documents, the gun prosecutors believe Hicks used in the shooting only holds eight rounds. This means that Hicks allegedly opened fire on Morgan and their daughter, stopped, and reloaded his weapon before firing off at least one more clip.

Hicks’ half-sister told investigators that “Daniel wanted Jennifer to get an abortion and claimed that Jennifer was just trying to trap him with the pregnancy,” charging documents say. According to Hicks’ half-sister, he had previously made death threats to kill Morgan and himself while he was armed. Court records also say the half-sister “wanted the detectives to know that  [Hick’s] grandfather killed his grandmother and then himself when Daniel was a baby.”

Police spoke with Hicks’ brother, who is deployed in Iraq. The brother told police that Hicks owns a number of handguns and a cache of ammunition, including a .45 caliber pistol, the same type of gun used to kill Morgan and her daughter.

At the scene of the shooting, police found a note written to Hicks’ brother. “I’m sorry [name removed]. I hope your stuff is not stolen by the police. I am sick, like Grandpa. Sorry cannot fix life. Please live for yourself and not others. Do not cry.

Court documents say Hicks placed a collect call to his father on Wednesday. Hicks’ father, who did not speak with his son, told detectives the call came from San Jose, California.

A statement released by the King County prosecutor’s office earlier today says that Hicks’ aggravated murder charge “carries two possible sentences, either life in prison without release or the death penalty.” After Hicks is arrested and arraigned, prosecutors will have 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty.