A Central Point man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty today to violently attacking two elderly family members in a home invasion robbery.
Brenton Allen Morrow, 25, pleaded guilty before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Mark Schiveley to two Measure 11 counts of first-degree robbery and a single count each of first-degree burglary and felony elude.
Prior to issuing his sentence, Schiveley praised the victims, who are in their 70s, for putting up a "brave and valiant fight" to protect themselves against their grandnephew's harrowing attacks.
"There seems to be something more happening here," Schiveley said, noting the couple had been supportive of Morrow throughout his life and inviting Morrow to address the court.
But even after an impassioned plea from the couple's daughter that Morrow "make the choice to heal all his broken parts," the defendant had little to say about why he attacked his great-aunt and -uncle in the Medford couple's Hillcrest Road home in the early morning hours of April 23.
"I'm sorry this happened," was all Morrow said.
Morrow wore a mask and brought a stun gun to the victims' residence, Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert said. At approximately 4 a.m., he muscled his way in the door when his great-aunt answered his knock. Then Morrow began violently attacking the 72-year-old woman, punching her repeatedly and delivering multiple shocks from the stun gun, Heckert said.
The woman suffered injuries to her face, torso, shoulder and knee, she said.
"It was horrible," Heckert said, describing the violence of the attack.
The woman's husband received serious head injuries, as well as 30 puncture marks from the stun gun attacks when he attempted to rescue his wife, she said.
"(The husband's) ear had to be stitched back on by a plastic surgeon," Heckert said, adding he also suffered a "brain bleed" and had to spend several days in the intensive care unit.
During the battle Morrow's great-aunt managed to call 911. Morrow knocked the phone from her hand. But dispatch operators remained on the line, she said.
Police arrived just as Morrow was fleeing the scene with a small amount of cash. Morrow crashed his vehicle in the subsequent pursuit and told police he had committed the crimes because "he believed his girlfriend had been taken by the drug cartel and he needed money," Heckert said.
Sara Collins, Morrow's public defender, said her client had become addicted to heroin and methamphetamine following a series of knee surgeries. He has no prior convictions of any crimes. Morrow has offered no reasons for why he attacked his family members in this "horrific incident", she said, adding Morrow was "in a drug induced psychotic state" when he committed the crimes.
"There's probably always going to be questions," Collins said.
After the sentencing, Heckert said she had discussed the plea agreement with the victims. She, and they, felt the 12-year sentence was just.
"He really went there with the intent of attacking them," Heckert said. "His betrayal is a part of their pain."
— Sanne Specht