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Morris still kept isolated

August 31, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Documents showing a state prison inmate charged with killing a correctional officer is back in the regular prison population are in error, a Maryland Division of Correction spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Paperwork circulating within the Division of Correction community in Washington County showed that Brandon Travon Morris was put back in the regular prison population on June 29, after being in segregation since Jan. 26, 2006.

According to the paperwork, the January 2006 to June 2007 time frame was a reduction in the original sentence of 2,190 days in segregation.

Morris is being held in disciplinary segregation at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, aka Supermax, DOC spokesman George Gregory said Thursday.

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Gregory described segregation as restricted status requiring separation of an inmate from the general population and placement on a special confinement housing.

Morris, 21, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and other counts in the slaying of Roxbury Correctional Institution Officer Jeffery Alan Wroten. Wroten, 44, died Jan. 27, 2006, a day after he was shot in the face in a Washington County Hospital room where he was guarding Morris.

Documents obtained by The Herald-Mail show that Morris was placed on disciplinary segregation on Jan. 26, 2006, and that the segregation ended June 29.

The documents are in error, and Morris still is on disciplinary segregation, DOC spokeswoman Priscilla Doggett said.

News that Morris' punishment had been reduced - due to a clerical error or not - hit a "raw nerve" among correctional employees, said Larry Kump, president of the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA) Public Safety Non-Custody Employees Chapter.

"It was all over every institution, not just RCI," Kump said.

Employees feel that reducing a punishment sends the wrong message to inmates, he said.

Morris' trial likely will start in early November in Howard County Circuit Court. Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty if Morris is convicted on any of the first-degree murder counts.

The trial originally was scheduled to begin June 11, but was delayed after an unrestrained Morris tried to run toward the door of the courtroom during jury selection on May 31. The courtroom escape attempt caused a melee that left two prospective jurors and two sheriff's deputies slightly injured.

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