News Article Details

Morris committed to state mental facility

Times Daily - 4/19/2017

TUSCUMBIA ? A Sheffield man found not guilty of killing his father in 2014 for reason of mental disease and mental defect has been placed in the custody of a state mental facility.

Colbert County Circuit Judge Hal Hughston Jr. issued the ruling, committing George Morris III to the custody of the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

In his ruling, Hughston also ordered the commissioner of the department to submit periodic reports on Morris' status to the court, the district attorney and to Morris' attorney.

In an April 4 hearing, Morris' attorney, Nathan Johnson, and Colbert County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kyle Brown presented testimony that Morris should be committed because he could be a threat to himself and others.

"We pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect and disease and the court found him not guilty of that," Johnson said. "We felt this was the next step, trying to get him some help. We're pleased with the judge's decision.

"We're happy that George has a chance of getting out one day," Johnson said. "Psychologists say most people in George's situation are able to improve themselves and lead a productive life. We're hoping that happens for George."

Morris, 34, 1703 S.E. Ninth Ave., Sheffield, was charged with murder and first-degree robbery in connection with the Sept. 1, 2014, stabbing death of his father.

Dr. Glen King, of Montgomery, a state-certified clinical forensic psychologist, testified at the hearing that Morris suffers severe mental illnesses and was, in fact, suffering from delusion when he killed his father.

"He thought his father was trying to kill him, trying to poison him," King said during testimony.

King said Morris was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which is the most common form of mental illness.

Johnson said getting Morris involuntarily committed to the state facility will allow his client to get the help and treatment that he needs.

"His family was happy with (the decision), and I believe in the end George is going to be happy with it as he will get the treatment he needs," Johnson said.

Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said George Morris Jr., 63, was found inside a bedroom at his residence just after 10 a.m.Sept. 1. Police said he was stabbed multiple times.

Ray said George Morris III was taken into custody later that morning, and has remained in custody since.

King testified during the hearing that Morris will never be cured of his condition, but he said it is "treatable."


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