Morgan sentenced to 11 years in prison

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY — A Rutland man was sentenced to 11 years in prison for attempted murder on Tuesday morning.

Following a conviction on Monday for attempted murder and two counts of felonious assault, Danny Morgan Sr., 53, was sentenced to 11 years in prison at a hearing on Tuesday morning in Meigs County Common Pleas Court.

As each charge stemmed from the same act — a March 19, 2016, stabbing at a residence on Lasher Road outside of Rutland — the two felonious assault charges merged with the attempted murder charge for purposes of sentencing. Morgan faced a maximum prison sentence of 11 years.

Morgan, at the advice of Attorney Doug Francis, did not address the court during the hearing. Francis told the court Morgan wished the incident had not happened.

Prosecutor James K. Stanley asked the court to sentence Morgan to the maximum possible of 11 years in prison given the serious nature of the offenses, the permanent injuries to the victim and the clear intent to kill the victim.

As is customary in cases where a victim is involved, the Meigs County Victim Assistance Program presented the judge with the victim impact statement.

Francis argued that the statement, which was not part of the discovery in the case, was a Brady violation as it provided the victim’s version of events in the case. As it was, the defense was unaware of the victim’s version of events, said Francis.

Stanley stated that the victim impact statement is not part of discovery as it is not provided to the prosecutor until the sentencing hearing when it is given to the court. Victim impact statements are not public record and are sealed in the case file by the court.

Judge I. Carson Crow overruled the argument by Francis, stating that the version of events in the statement was not that different from what the victim testified to during the trial.

Francis asked the court to place Morgan on five years of community control with an 11 year underlying prison sentence. He stated that while there was serious physical harm caused to the victim, the other factors which would go toward imposing a maximum sentence were not present in this case. He also argued that recidivism is unlikely as the defendant and victim have not been in contact in the two years since the incident, that Morgan has no prior criminal record, and that he shows genuine remorse.

“He never wanted this to happen,” said Francis, calling the stabbing a terrible event which Morgan wishes would not have occurred.

Stanley countered that the victim did not seem remorseful during the testimony until the end when he claimed the stabbing was an accident, having also claimed that the victim facilitated the incident during a portion of Morgan’s testimony. Stanley added that Morgan also has a history of alcohol and substance abuse for which he has not sought treatment.

Francis told the court that an appeal is planned in the case due to issues at trial, as well as possible speedy trial issues and a motion to suppress which were denied at pretrial hearings.

Francis asked that Morgan be allowed to be free on bond pending appeal, something Crow denied.

Morgan was remanded to the custody of the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office to be transported to prison.

By Sarah Hawley