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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

December 31, 2009 at 12:30 PM

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Man charged with killing girlfriend and baby to be extradited

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

Daniel Hicks appeared in a Santa Cruz, Calif. courtroom this morning and told a judge that he won't fight returning to Seattle where he will face aggravated murder charges.

Hicks, 30, was arrested at gunpoint in the Northern California city on Monday after Seattle police traced a collect phone call he'd made to a relative in Seattle from a pay phone in the California coastal town. Hicks had disappeared after police said that he fatally shot his longtime girlfriend and the couple's 13-week-old daughter, Emma.

Hicks is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, a charge that gives prosecutors the option to seek the death penalty. Prosecutors said that on Dec. 21, Hicks shot Jennifer Morgan, 28, at least a dozen times and Emma, at least seven times with a .45-caliber handgun, according to charging documents.

Hicks, who reloaded his gun more than two times during the attack, was angry with Morgan because she wanted to end their relationship of nine years, court charging papers said.

After the slayings, Hicks got in his pickup and drove south. He dumped the truck in Weed, Calif., just south of the Oregon border, and hitchhiked about 344 miles to Santa Cruz, said King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Konat.

Konat said that Hicks will likely return to Seattle in the coming days. He could be arraigned as early as next week.

Hicks is not fighting extradition to Washington. Leesa Manion, chief of staff at the King County Prosecutor's Office, told The Seattle Times Wednesday that Hicks was doing so, but Konat said Hicks' lawyer had only asked a judge to push his extradition hearing from Wednesday until this morning so the attorney could have more time to work on the case.

Konat said that the King County Sheriff's Office will bring Hicks back to Seattle.

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