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Trego man pleads not guilty to assault charges

by Tana Wilson Western News
| November 19, 2019 11:28 AM

Jacob Morris, 32, pleaded not guilty Nov. 18 to four counts of assault with a weapon and one count of partner or family member assault, first offense.

The Trego resident was arrested in October after authorities found him suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest inflicted by his wife. Although the couple initially described the shooting as an accident, his wife later alleged years of abuse at his hands, culminating with serious threats to her life on Oct. 16, the night of the incident.

As recounted in police affidavits, Morris’ wife recalled no arguments between them that evening, but believed he was upset because she cheated on him 13 years ago when they lived in Virginia. After allegedly throwing a hammer and hitting her in the shoulder, Morris told his wife he was stepping outside, court documents said. If she did not tell him the details of the affair upon his return, he said he would “club her upside the head with the claw side [of the hammer] and I am not going to stop,” according to the affidavit.

The victim told authorities that when he returned he was more worked up.

“[The victim] said she closed her eyes, said, ‘I am sorry,’ and shot,” court documents recounted.

She later went in search of Morris, finding him bleeding from the wound inflicted by a .45 caliber handgun, court documents said. The victim later remembered telling him, “but you were going to kill me. I had no choice, I had to,” according to the affidavit.

Morris instructed her to call emergency responders, court documents said. He allegedly instructed her to tell authorities it was an accident — that he startled her and she shot him, court documents said.

They both stuck to the story until two subsequent interviews with the victim conducted by members of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. The victim raised the abuse allegations after authorities documented bruising across her body.

Both Morris and his wife served in the military and are both 100 percent disabled veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder, according to court documents.

Court documents also note that Morris moved to Trego approximately five years ago with his wife and four children. That’s about when the abuse began, the victim told authorities.

Morris is being held on a $500,000 bond. He was initially arrested on two counts of assault with a weapon. Prosecutors sought the high bail because Morris “appears to believe that his religious beliefs entitle him to inflict physical injury upon the victim,” wrote County Attorney Marcia Boris.

He is set to appear in court again on Jan. 27, 2020, for an omnibus hearing. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 2 with a jury trial planned to begin April 14 unless there is a plea change.