La Plata, MD – The second time wasn’t the charm for Kenny Earl Morris, 56 of Waldorf. A Charles County Circuit Court jury found him guilty Thursday, Feb. 2 of first- and second-degree assault of Tyrone Jeter in an argument over a parking space in front of the town complex where they lived at Bryan Court in Waldorf Jan. 31, 2014.
Morris appealed his 2015 conviction to no avail. Unlike many convictions, where sentencing is put off, Morris was sentenced by Judge H. James West following the verdict Thursday. Prior to sentencing, the victim spoke out.
“After the first trial, I was relieved,” he told the court. “When I heard there was going to be an appeal, it really bothered me a lot. I take the way I treat people very seriously,” he added. “Coming in here and having people try to destroy my character, it was very, very hurtful.”
Jeter said Morris has shown “no regret, no remorse” for what he had done. “He can’t even look at me now,” Jeter said.
He recounted family events where Morris would become inebriated, diving over tables to attack people “for no reason.”
The victim was stabbed in the neck by Morris during the altercation with such force that the knife blade broke off in his neck. During closing arguments, Defense Attorney Jason Ott told the jury, “Thank God it was there,” meaning the knife blade.
“That was disrespectful and distasteful,” Jeter said.
Ott did apologize to Jeter for those remarks during sentencing. The defendant apologized as well.
“I would like to apologize to Mr. Jeter and Janice,” Morris said. “There were a lot of problems that happened before this ever occurred. I hope somehow the family can heal. I apologize to my family. I know it’s been stressful. I am very remorseful.”
In his statements during sentencing, West said that you would expect sixth graders to argue over a bus seat but in real life, as adults, “you move on to other things that matter more.” West said it was unfortunate that the two sisters who were once best friends are now alienated because of this trial. “There is no good reason for this incident to have occurred,” he said, sentencing Morris to 20 years with all but nine years suspended.
He gave the defendant 551 days credit for time served and ordered him to undergo alcohol and drug treatment and added four years of supervised probation following his release.
Contact Joseph Norris at email@example.com