Details emerge about fugitives in Montana

Monday, January 19, 2004

ST. PETERS, Mo. -- Two Missouri brothers held in an Arizona murder were decent teens who were influenced by their older cousin, who's also jailed in the case, a neighbor of the boys said.

Cary Pratt, 21, of St. Peters, said his 15- and 16-year-old neighbors looked up to their cousin, Justin Harrison, 22, of Wright City. Harrison and the boys left the area with Harrison on Christmas.

They currently are jailed in Montana on suspicion of murdering Del Monte Foods executive Pedro Corzo, 35, who was shot and killed outside Phoenix. His body was found in a shallow grave Jan. 11, two days after he disappeared.

Pratt, who knew all three suspects, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Harrison said he was headed to Arizona to look at land.

Pratt told the newspaper Harrison said that if anyone got in the way, he'd "snuff 'em out," but Pratt didn't think he was serious. Pratt also said Harrison threatened to injure him if he told anybody about the planned trip.

The three left behind a note in the brothers' Missouri home saying they'd kill anyone who interfered with their plan to commit robberies in the desert, said St. Charles County Sheriff's Detective Gerry Pollard.

Missouri license plates

The three were stopped near Billings on Thursday after a highway patrol officer became suspicious because the 1985 Chrysler New Yorker they were in was driving slowly and had Missouri plates.

A license plate check showed the car was connected to the teen brothers, who had been reported as runaways, and included an alert that the brothers were likely armed.

Authorities said Harrison was driving and three guns were confiscated from the trunk. One of the brothers later told officers of the slaying in Arizona, authorities said.

Arizona authorities said the motive did not appear to be robbery. Montana police found handwritten notes detailing the ethnic makeup of Dateland, Ariz., about 30 miles southwest of the murder scene.

On Friday, the brothers appeared in Youth Court where a judge ordered them held on suspicion of murder. Harrison was booked into a county jail on suspicion of murder.

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