A Central Point man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty 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.
Before 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 grand nephew's harrowing attack. Schiveley is serving as a judge pro-tem after retiring from the bench in 2010.
"There seems to be something more happening here," Schiveley said, noting that 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, who called on Morrow to "make the choice to heal all his broken parts," the defendant had little to say about why he attacked the Medford couple 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' Hillcrest Road residence, said Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert. At approximately 4 that morning, he pushed his way into the house when his great-aunt answered his knock. Then Morrow violently attacked the elderly 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 and still suffers the effects, she said.
"It was horrible," Heckert said, describing the violence of the attack.
The woman's husband suffered 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," Hecket 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 as Morrow was leaving with a small amount of cash. Morrow crashed his vehicle in the subsequent pursuit, and later 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 had no prior convictions. Morrow has offered no reason for why he attacked his family members in this "horrific incident," she said, adding that 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 said 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."
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.