Crime & Courts

Man who took part in torture killing will spend the rest of his life in prison

Five people were charged in connection with the disappearance and torture killing of 33-year-old Scottie Goodpaster. They are, clockwise from top left: Willie E. Morris, Alexandria Scott, Jeff Hillard, Brian Bussart and Heidi Hillard.
Five people were charged in connection with the disappearance and torture killing of 33-year-old Scottie Goodpaster. They are, clockwise from top left: Willie E. Morris, Alexandria Scott, Jeff Hillard, Brian Bussart and Heidi Hillard. Courtesy photo

One of the people who took part in the 2016 torture killing of a Wichita man will spend the remainder of his life in prison.

Willie Earl Morris won't be eligible for parole until he's served at least 73 1/3 years — beyond any reasonable life expectancy for the 57-year-old.

Sedgwick County District Court Judge Bruce Brown on Friday gave Morris a life sentence for the first-degree murder of 33-year-old Scottie Goodpaster Jr. on Nov. 6, 2016, plus an additional 280 months for other crimes including aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery and conspiring to distribute drugs. He is one of five people charged in connection with Goodpaster's death.

Court documents say anger over $185 missing after a methamphetamine deal led the group to snatch Goodpaster and his girlfriend from a west Wichita hotel room on Nov. 5, 2016, and take them to a Valley Center home where the torture occurred.

Goodpaster's attackers punched, choked, hit him with several items — including an ax, hammer, wooden board and knife — mutilated his genitals, stapled his face, shoved sticks in his ears and wrapped his head with tape before dumping him in rural Harvey County.

His body was found in a wooded area six days later.

Morris was convicted by a jury last month. His life sentence carries parole eligibility after 50 years, said Dan Dillon, spokesman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office. But if he is granted parole, he must serve the other 33 1/3 years before he can be released from prison.

The others charged — Brian Bussart, Heidi Hillard, Jeff Hillard and Alexandria Scott — are awaiting adjudication of their cases. The Hillards have jury trials scheduled in September.

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Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker
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