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Dawson father gets five years in prison for guns, son gets probation for June standoff with law

MADISON — The father of a boy who had an 8-hour standoff with law enforcement officers this summer in rural Lac qui Parle County was sentenced to five years in prison for wrongfully possessing guns and the boy was sentenced to probation and community service work for obstructing the legal process.

Kevin Ernest Morris, 40, of Dawson, was sentenced Tuesday by District Court Judge Dwayne Knutsen to the prison time and a $50 fine on a felony charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

His son, Tim Kevin Morris, 16, received a juvenile sentence of probation until his 19th birthday and 40 hours of community service.

The conditions of his probation include that he attend school, obey home and school rules, abide by curfew, remain law-abiding and submit to chemical testing.

The juvenile’s sentence was handed down Wednesday by District Judge Thomas Van Hon in Lac qui Parle County District Court. Felony charges against 16- and 17-year-old defendants are public record.

The standoff began on the evening of June 25, when law enforcement officials attempted to serve a search warrant on the Morris family’s rural residence. The boy prohibited officers from entering the property, hid in a tree fort and then retreated into the house, throwing items out the windows and cursing at officers before eventually surrendering early the next morning.

When officers finally searched the home, they located 16 guns, including shotguns, high-powered and .22-caliber rifles and handguns, including at least eight guns that were loaded. Kevin Morris was later arrested away from the residence.

According to information from Lac qui Parle County Sheriff Rick Halvorson, multiple law enforcement agencies, including the State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, assisted in the eight-hour long negotiation process with Tim Morris.

According to the complaint against the elder Morris, the investigation into his possession of guns began in April when the Dawson Police Department received information that the son was selling marijuana and that Kevin Morris was going to put out a “hit” on the juvenile who told police about his son’s drug dealing.

The information included that Tim Morris’ mother, Jennie, told a law enforcement informant that Kevin Morris is not allowed to possess firearms because of his felony conviction and that she told the person to lie in court so that her son would not get a felony conviction, and then her son could have the guns.

Through interviews and investigation, law enforcement learned that Kevin Morris had a number of guns in his home. Investigators confirmed that Kevin Morris was prohibited from possessing firearms because of his 1998 conviction for fifth-degree drug possession.

According to the petition against the younger Morris, Tim Morris maintained possession of a long gun throughout the standoff. The West Central SWAT team eventually set up phone communications with the boy, who spoke with negotiators and eventually agreed to come out of the residence on his own.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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