Judge let now accused kidnapper go free twice

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 18:10:49-05

CINCINNATI – Eric Morris asked a judge to let him go free after he assaulted a woman so Morris could complete his college education and  "continue on his journey to becoming a productive citizen."

Now the 31-year-old Cincinnati man is under arrest again and accused of kidnapping and terrorizing the same woman for three days.

Judge Tyrone Yates dropped jail time against Morris twice, according to court records - the second time after Morris'  public defender pleaded that Morris be allowed to finish a two-year degree at Cincinnati State. That was  a year after Morris pleaded guilty to the first assault.

Police say the second assault happened last October. Morris forced his way into a Millvale apartment and beat the woman unconscious, according to police. Once she escaped, she had to be hospitalized for three days. The woman suffered a level 4 liver laceration, loss of her right kidney functions as well as bruising all over the body.

The woman said Morris assaulted her in March 2014, and Morris pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault two months later. Yates sentenced him to 200 days, suspended 188 and let him off with 12 days served. Yates gave Morris two years' probation, according to court records.

Three months after he went free, Morris was charged with misdemeanor theft, aggravated menacing  and violating probation. After Morris was arrested, Yates sent him back to jail to complete the 188 days he had suspended.

On May 6, 2015, Morris' public defender pleaded in a motion to let Morris go free so he could finish his last semester at Cincinnati State and earn his associate's degree in business management.

The public defender, Edell R. Gray, pointed out that Morris had served 64 days for the misdemeanor assault and  a total of 91 days  for "unrelated matters."

"We pray that this Court would find that 91 days is sufficient punishment for his behavior," Gray wrote.

Yates then continued Morris' original probation, according to court records.

Meanwhile, the victim did not cooperate by refusing to accept Juris Monitoring, court document show. In Juris Monitoring, accused abusers are required to wear an electronic devices that set soff a beep in a monitoring unit in the victim's home when they are nearby. Police are immediately notified.

An EMD specialist said she called the victim to arrange a hookup, but the woman didn't show up. When the specialist called back, the victim said she had the wrong number, according to court records.

Morris was arrested Wednesday and faces charges of kidnapping, felonious assault, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery.

Other residents of the Millvale complex say it's one problem after another there.

Brandon Creech said he believes he has seen Morris around and even saw him in a fight.

"Someone told me the guy went to jail, but I wasn't surprised because there is always police in the parking lot," Creech said.

"I've been here for like eight years and it's very unsafe here," said Erica Walker, who said she lives across the hall from the victim.  "It's hard to really tell if anyone is in immediate danger because it's always problems. You always hear the ambulance. You always hear the fire truck.

"It's constant - yelling and arguing and shooting on a regular basis - so it's not like anything new."