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Sentencing phase in Morris trial to begin Tuesday

January 21, 2008|From Staff reports

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - The sentencing phase in the trial of Brandon T. Morris, convicted on three murder counts in the death of a Roxbury Correctional Institution officer, was to get under way Tuesday.

The verdict handed Morris by a Howard County Circuit Court jury on Friday means he could be sentenced to death.

Because Morris faces the death penalty, he must decide whether Judge Joseph Manck, a retired Anne Arundel County judge who is hearing the case, or the jury will determine his sentence.

The jury found Morris guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder during a robbery and first-degree felony murder during an escape in the January 2006 shooting death of RCI correctional officer Jeffery A. Wroten at Washington County Hospital.

Morris shot Wroten, 44, of Martinsburg, W.Va., in the face with the officer's gun during the early-morning hours of Jan. 26, 2006, at the hospital, where Wroten was guarding the inmate.

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Morris had been taken to the hospital after he stuck a needle in his liver, according to testimony at his trial.

At the time of the shooting, Morris was serving an eight-year sentence for armed robbery and assault.

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