Man Accused in Storage Unit Fire That Killed Girlfriend and Dog Had History of Domestic Abuse: Court Records

Woman Dies in Storage Unit Fire
Morgan Kay Harris, 27, and her dog were locked inside a storage unit by her boyfriend, police said. Murray Police Department

Alexander Wardell has been charged with negligent homicide and kidnapping after his girlfriend was killed in a storage unit fire, police said. Court records show he had been released on bail for a probation violation the day before.

A Utah man charged with negligent homicide for allegedly locking his girlfriend and her dog inside a storage unit that later caught fire had been released on bail the day before for a probation violation involving previous domestic violence charges, according to court records.

Alexander Wardell, 30, has also been charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, criminal mischief, possession of a dangerous weapon and violating probation in connection with his most recent case, according to online jail records. He is being held without bail at the Salt Lake County Jail.

An arrest warrant affidavit alleges Wardell acknowledged locking his girlfriend, 27-year-old Morgan Kay Harris, inside a storage unity Murray City on Saturday. Surveillance video showed him walking away from the locked cubicle, police said.

A blaze erupted, destroying six rental units, authorities said. After firefighters broke into the locked unit, the remains of Harris and her dog were found inside, police said.

"Our daughter, Morgan Kay Harris was always known for her sweet, shy and kind temperament, being a deep thinker with amazing artistic abilities and always having an infectious giggle," her family said in a statement this week.

"She was a beautiful model and makeup artist and a successful medical assistant. She loved her dog, Huck, who passed with her," the family said. Harris leaves behind "her parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, whom she adored."

Wardell had posted $5,000 bail on Friday for a probation violation charge filed in connection with two previous cases of domestic violence that originated in 2018, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in 2019 to felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor criminal mischief, and was sentenced to 36 months of probation, according to the records. 

Investigators have not yet determined how the fire started, authorities said. 

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