Child cruelty charges against state delegate set aside

Prosecutors set aside child-cruelty charges today against state 64th District Delegate Rick Morris.

SUFFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A rushed judgment. That's what 64th District Delegate Rick Morris says landed him with child cruelty charges.

Today a judge set those charges aside. All four of the charges against Morris were "noell processed," meaning they could conceivably come back some day, but it's unclear if they actually will.

As a matter of law, it means that the Commonwealth is unwilling to pursue the case.

Hampton Commonwealth's Attorney Anton Bell said his office wasn't able to get an out-of-state subpoena served on a key witness, the stepson Morris was accused of harming in his Whaleyville home last year.

That's because the child now lives with his biological father in Texas.

Morris was accused of striking the child on the hands with a wooden spoon, spatula and leather belt leaving a bruise on his wrist.

Outside the courthouse, Morris and his wife insisted that he allegations were lies.

"I am very thankful that this is over.," said Rick Morris. "But Detective Lydia Thompson in a rush to judgment and filed these charges with an incomplete investigation."

Kathryn Morris also weighed in, saying:

"The Hampton Commonwealth's Attorney, Mr. Anton Bell, who accused my son's father and I of hiding him is completely false and is slander. We're consulting with counsel at this time to take legal action against Mr. Anton Bell."

Morris represents parts of Suffolk and Franklin and parts of Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry and Sussex counties.

Back in March, the Republican announced on his Facebook page and his official website that he wouldn't seek re-election to a fourth term.

He wrote:

"To seek re-election to this office will take dedicated time away from my children that I am not willing to further sacrifice."

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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