UPDATE: A judge has sentenced a Columbus woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death.
Judge Art Smith gave Priscilla Morgan 15 years in prison plus five years of supervised probation with the possibility of parole after six-and-a-half years.
The sentence came after over an hour of arguments set forth by the defense and prosecution. The prosecution called the mother of the victim, 30-year-old Anthony Murray, to the stand. Mrs. Murray told the court she was about to pay for her son’s truck driving license. Anthony was her only son living in Columbus.
The second witness of the day, Sergeant Joe Harris with Columbus Police, commented on the impact the stabbing had on the community as a whole. Hart believes the crime was motivated by vengeance and taking matters into one’s own hands. Hart also used the court platform to reach out to domestic violence victims.
A largely contested point in the court sentencing was whether Morgan’s convicted stabbing was an act of defense versus an act of malice or ill-will. Hart said that domestic violence had a tendency to be highly under-reported, especially by male victims. He said with an appropriate sentence, it would prove that males would not have to be afraid to report domestic violence.
Following the prosecution’s called witnesses, Morgan’s (who also has gone by the last name Harris) attorney Stacey Jackson lead the final defensive arguments. Jackson noted that his client did not have any prior history of complaints or police calls. For Jackson, he believes the little evidence the state did have was “laughable.”
The third witness of the day was Lawrence Harris, the father of Priscilla Morgan. He told the court that his daughter, Priscilla, had four children, three of which are minors and the other one is 20-years-old with a kid of his own. Currently, the children are in the custody of Priscilla Morgan’s parents.
“My granddaughters need their mother,” Harris said in support of his daughter. He, as well as his wife, pleaded with the judge. At one point, matters got so emotional that after her time on the stand, Morgan’s mother left the courtroom sobbing.
Morgan’s parents said they have the deepest sympathy for the Murray family because they have lost two children of their own.
“There’s no way in the world any of us would want something like this to happen,” Annie Harris said. “We know the pain of losing a loved one.”
Harris said she had been taking anti-depressants for the last 19 years, and that the burden of raising five children in their house was weighing on her.
“Please don’t make a tragic mistake and make it into someone deliberately trying to kill someone,” Harris added.
After Morgan’s sister took the stand, Priscilla Morgan had a chance to address the judge.
“I loved him,” Morgan said in her own defense. “There’s nothing that would want her to take him away. I’ve suffered a lot and that’s made her love harder.”
After hearing the arguments, the judge then took a ten minute recess to gather his notes and determine Morgan’s sentence. He came back and delivered the 15-year sentence, mentioning that he did not take Morgan’s non-guilty verdicts of felony murder, malice murder, and possession of a knife during a crime into account.
Jackson was optimistic when News 3 caught up with him after the trial. He said his client could have spent the rest of her life in prison. Now, under the Georgia First Offenders act, she could find it easier to find employment.
The hearing for a motion for a possible retrial is set for December 16th at 2 PM.
COLUMBUS, Ga. – The woman who was acquitted of murder after being accused of stabbing her boyfriend will be sentenced on a separate charge today.
Though Priscilla Morgan wasn’t convicted of murder, the jury did find her guilty of aggravated assault. She is set to be sentenced on that charge this afternoon.
Morgan was accused of stabbing her 30 year old boyfriend, Anthony Murray, back in May 2014, but was found not guilty last week.