Jessica Morris – Child molesting "monster under the bed"

“For a child to come in here and say that her mother should get 200 years in jail boggles my mind. That’s what this child needs to heal. You don’t want your mother to go to jail for 200 years for doing nothing.”

Jessica Morris was called “the monster under the bed” and “the monster in the bed” Thursday before she was sentenced by Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone to a lifetime in prison.

Morris, a 31-year-old mother of three from Wheeling, displayed no emotion as Mazzone sentenced her to 101 to 235 years in prison for sexually assaulting her daughter.

Specifically, Mazzone sentenced her to one to five years for conspiracy to commit sexual assault on a minor, 15 to 35 years each for three counts of first degree sexual assault, 10 to 20 years each for four counts of sexual abuse by a parent and five to 15 years each for three counts of incest.

The judge ordered the terms to be served consecutively, resulting in an actual sentence of 101 to 235 years.

The sentence agreed with a recommendation by Ohio County Adult Probation Officer William Ball, the Ohio County Prosecutor’s office and West Virginia law.

In his pre-sentence investigation report, Ball wrote that the victim’s “own mother was the monster under the bed.”

Testimony at Morris’ October trial revealed that the victim disclosed to child psychologists and counselors that she had been sexually assaulted numerous times by her mother and allegedly by her mother’s boyfriend, Jack Jones, who is scheduled to go on trial early next year for his part in the assaults.

The crimes began when the child was 3 years old and continued until she was 7.

Speaking on her own behalf Thursday, Morris said “what the state had done to me, my children and my family is not right. Whatever you sentence me to, I just know that it is in God’s hands. The truth will come out and if I have to wait in prison until it does – then, so be it.”

Morris’ father told the judge his daughter was innocent. He claimed his granddaughter “made accusations that me, my son and another man violated her. I was not given an opportunity during the trial to discredit her.”

The father said he intends to stand by his daughter.

“I am not going to give up on her,” he said. “There is no possible way she could have done this. She is innocent.”

Others in the courtroom were less sympathetic toward Morris. Their comments follows:

  • Attorney Joseph Moses, guardian ad litem for the victim, read a letter from the victim to the judge.

“Dear judge. I think what Jessica did was wrong. She should never have done it. I hope she gets 200 years of jail. Jack should get 200 years of jail. I hope that they get that much. Thank you for everything that you did. You are really a nice judge. I hope they get what they deserve. What Jack did was wrong too. I wish that stuff never happened. Thank you for everything you did.”

Moses told the court he took exception to Morris’ contention that she is innocent. “I do not appreciate the family’s decision to not acknowledge what has happened. To sit here and say she does not know what is going on is ridiculous. The truth did come out. The victim disclosed what happened to her. She told the truth. The things that happened to her happened in the home of her mother.

“For a child to come in here and say that her mother should get 200 years in jail boggles my mind. That’s what this child needs to heal. You don’t want your mother to go to jail for 200 years for doing nothing.”

  • Assistant Ohio County Prosecutor Jenna Wood said, “The evidence in this case is consistent. The victim came into this court and testified that her mother held her down while she was kicking and screaming while Jack Jones forcibly raped her. This child was repeatedly raped in her home with her mother present – and, more disturbingly, your honor, the evidence in this case is that her mother perpetrated upon her on in the absence of Jack Jones.

“This little girl was raped. She was raped of her childhood. She was raped of her innocence. She was raped of a mother’s love.

“In nature, a mother of an animal will intercept a predator and sacrifice herself to protect her child. What we have in this courtroom today, is a mother that protected a predator and sacrificed her child. She is a predator. She is not worthy of any mercy.

“The victim deserves salvation and she will only have salvation if she is protected from this woman forever. There is no child more deserving of protection. There is no defendant more deserving of punishment. And, there is no case more deserving of justice.

“She has been described as the monster under the bed. She was the monster in the bed.

“And God bless this child whose monsters were real.”

Defense attorney Michael Alberty said he plans to appeal the case to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

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