Monday, March 7, 2011

Alleged Child Rapist Has New Lawyer - Jurors To Pass Sentence

Waco – When Benjamin Alan Morrison met with his original court-appointed lawyer for the first time, the man asked him point blank if he would plead guilty to an 9-count indictment.

Conviction on any of 8 counts of aggravated sexual assault of a female child younger than 14 years of age could net him a sentence of 25 years to life without the possibility of parole.

The 9th count, Continuing Sexual Abuse of a Child, is just as serious, a Class A Felony offense.

All these offenses are alleged to have taken place in the married housing section of Texas State Technical College where Mr. Morrison was a student at the time. An Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm, court records show that though he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic depression, a psychiatrist has determined that he is fit to stand trial and is able to assist in his own defense.

Today, his case jacket in the McLennan County District Clerk's Office bulges with frantic handwritten missives he wrote to Judge Ralph Strother over the course of the months he has spent in jail awaiting his trial. Scribbled in pencil in a tiny script that is neatly printed, the notes become more and more strident as the months passed, until finally, the judge appointed John M. Hurley on Feb. 2 to serve as co-counsel with his original court-appointed attorney, Darren Obenoskey.

Mr. Obenoskey obtained his release on a writ of habeas corpus when the staff of former District Attorney John Segrest neglected to obtain an indictment within the period of 90 days required by law.

Jail Magistrate Raymond Britton released the 39-year-old Bruceville resident on a personal recognizance bond that required no placement of a cash fee.

Mr. Morrison asked that Mr. Obenoskey be ordered to recuse himself because he had failed to contact him to let him know his trial date of March 22 or that there would be a pre-trial conference on Friday, March 8 at 8:30 a.m. in the 19th District Court. For this reason, he wrote, he has filed a grievance against him with the State Bar of Texas.

He told the judge that Mr. Obenoskey is “primarily a divorce attorney, which I feel would result in ineffective legal counsel.”

A sister, Stephanie Trumbo of Moody, has echoed his complaints, asking that the judge appoint another lawyer to represent Mr. Morrison.

The new lawyer, Mr. Hurley, has filed various motions, chief among them that if convicted, his punishment will be assessed by jurors, and not the judge, and that during questioning of prospective jurors, he wishes to explain the difference between the standard of guilt in a civil matter and a criminal matter.

By comparing the standards of proof in a standardized questionnaire developed by Texas Judicial System, he hopes to show veniremen that in a criminal complaint, the standard calls for proof of guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty,” while in a civil matter, jurors need only find a “preponderance of evidence” of culpability.

He has objected in his motion to “the Court's prohibition against comparing the standards of proof.” Such a prohibition, he contends, “negates both the intent of the Legislature...and of the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System.”

Thus, Mr. Hurley complained in the motion, Judge Strother's refusal to allow the comparison to prospective jurors deprives his client Mr. Morrison to “due process of law and the right to a fair trial.”

The attorney has furthermore challenged the indictment for the first count, that of Continuing Sexual Abuse of a Minor because the indictment “does not identify the alleged child victim so Defendant can defend against the charge.” He also alleges that the Defendant will be unable to differentiate between the times before the rapes first occurred and when the last incident took place.

The allegations of complaint center around a five-year period during which Mr. Morrison is accused of penetrating the child's vagina with his sexual organ.

He has also made motions to discover the arrest and conviction records of the witnesses who are scheduled to appear offering testimony as to Mr. Morrison's guilt.

The prosecutor in the case, Hilary C. Laborde, has filed a notice that the State will be offering hearsay testimony in support of the statements of the alleged child victim of rape.


  1. Wow, this sounds like the Scum-Bag is in a pickle jar and he's trying to find a way out of it. I love the fact that he wants a Jury Trial, this means that Justice is right around the corner!! Come on Ms. Laborde, work your magic!

  2. I truly hope that Ms. Laborde get the job done right. I understand why they are keeping my daughters ID a secret and I hope that doesn't cause a mistrial or something. I may get into trouble for this but if that S.O.B walks free, I will see justice served, A fathers justice and a promise made to his daughter. If I had the money I would be at all the hearings. I believe that the laws should be changed when comes to sex offenders. They have NO rights at all.

  3. I love how he is grabbing at straws. The courts know the victim, and moved to protect her. I personally can't wait to hear what happens to him in jail.

  4. It is amazing how self-rightous Dean and Sarah are being. Since they gave up their rights to their daughter and Sarah gave up the rights to all 3 of her children. Maybe they should look in the mirror before casting stones. I am not taking up for Mr. Morrison. If he did what he is accused of then he belongs in jail however if he didn't then the last 2 years of his life have been wasted for naught. In this country we are innocent until proven guilty. There are people on here that are trying Mr. Morrison on the internet instead of the court room. That is totally wrong.

  5. I don't know who you are, but if you knew the true story of how and why we lost our children you would not be so judgmental. It's ironic how you speak of justice when it was lies and deceit from sarah's family and morrison that lead to us signing over our rights. now if you want the truth then ask. if not then don't speak of something you know nothing about, unless you are part of the family that lies and backstabs to get what they want and if so then who can believe what you say. Ben deserves what he has been through and what is coming to him. If you do or you are part of that family then you will know where I live, so if you have a problem with what was said, then please drop by and lets discuss it like grown ups would.

  6. well I don't know how true it is but sarah's family is saying that ben agreed to a plea. by pleading guilty he got a reduced sentence and received 40 years. If this is true then the D.A sent a clear message to child molesters, you may commit the crime and we will deal with you and not give you the maximum sentence, so fell free to commit the crimes. I am happy that the SOB will be in prison for 40 years, but it does leave him an opportunity to get of jail one day and that is unacceptable. any child molester should never be released from prison or should be put to death.