NewsCovering Kern County


Man takes plea deal in SW Bakersfield backyard body case

Joseph Lara's body was found burned, buried
Posted at 4:00 PM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 19:03:38-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The second of three people arrested in the investigation into a body found in the backyard of a Southwest Bakersfield home took a plea deal on Tuesday.

Dennis Marroquin pleaded no contest to conspiring to commit a crime in the death of Joseph Lara, whose body was found burned and buried in the backyard of a home on Hathaway Avenue back in January. In exchange for Marroquin's plea, prosecutors dropped an accessory charge.

Marroquin is expected to be sentenced in June.

Court documents obtained by 23ABC News show Marroquin told police the 21-year-old Lara died of a drug overdose at a home in a different area. Those documents show Marroquin admitted he and another person then put Lara's body into the trunk of a vehicle and drove to the Hathaway Avenue home.

That's where they then burned and buried Lara's body, according to the documents.

Later, a dog found a body part partially sticking out of the ground and police were called to the home.

Marroquin, David Williams III and Kailee Morrison were all arrested in connection with Lara's death and burial. In court documents, Williams admitted to police that he provided drugs to Lara, who then overdosed.

In April, Williams pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Morrison is due back in court on May 15. She is facing four felony charges: Accessory, possession of a controlled substance for sale, keeping a place to sell a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit a crime.