Friday, January 10, 2014


I first wrote about my high school friend, Joel Morris, five and a half years ago in this post and again two years later here.  When he killed his father the following year, I wrote about it here.

The long saga came to an end in a courtroom today as he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of his father, Bob Morris.

The result is not surprising.

I had been subpoenaed by his attorney to testify, but after talking to him, he decided that I probably wouldn't be helpful to Joel's case.  He was probably correct in making that decision.

I've thought a lot about Joel this week.  I was a sophomore in high school when I first met him.  We had our ups and downs over the years but he remained one of the most intensely loyal friends I've ever had.  If I had not watched him mentally deteriorate with my own eyes, it would be impossible to reconcile the Joel I knew with the person who murdered his father.

I loved him like a brother.

Since that fateful day in April of 2011, I've wondered what I would feel when a jury ultimately handed down a verdict on Joel.

I was surprised to find that the feeling was largely relief.

As much as I loved him, I was scared to death of the idea of ever seeing him out on the street again.


Anonymous said...

I have a question, it is off the subject but here goes.

I saw something on TV yesterday that just floored me.

I know there must be more to the story than meets the eye.
A man was sentenced to 180 jail time for paying too much child support and visiting his son too much. Judge Lisa Millard sentenced this man for contempt I think.

Does anyone know what in the world that is about? I find this peculiar to say the least.

Anonymous said...

It is tragic that this state (not that the rest of the country has a great solution for this problem) has no treatment option for this kind of mental health decline. The only option for long term care for a severely mentally ill person who becomes violent is prison after something horrible has happened. And there is no solution for the victim of the violence. Our non-violent severely mentally ill are living on the streets. That is not an adequate solution either. I don't have the answers, but it is heart breaking to watch such a decline knowing that the end will be terrible. Going back to the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest days is not acceptable; but, there has to be some placement for people suffering from chronic mental illness that does not respond to any intervention. Thank you for sharing the story of your friend.