NewsCovering Kern County


Third person in SW Bakersfield backyard body investigation takes plea deal

Joseph Lara's body was found burned, buried
Posted at 5:00 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 20:28:05-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A third person charged in connection with the burning and burying of a body in a Southwest Bakersfield backyard has taken a plea deal.

Kailee Morrison agreed on May 15 to plead no contest to a felony charge of conspiring to commit a crime. In exchange for her plea, three other felony charges were dropped.

She is expected to be sentenced on June 5.

Morrison was arrested on Jan. 28 after the body of Joseph Lara was found in the backyard of a home on Hathaway Avenue.

She was one of three people arrested in the investigation. Dennis Marroquin and David Williams III were also arrested. They have also agreed to plea deals.

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

Marroquin, who also pleaded no contest to conspiring to commit a crime back on May 7, is expected to be sentenced in June.

The investigation kicked off in January when a dog found a body part in the backyard of the Hathaway Avenue home and police were called to the home.

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 part of town. 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.