Mother Testifies Against Father Charged In Son's Death

April 08, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

Angellette Friend, the mother of 19-month-old Christopher Morris, testified yesterday against the baby's father, a suspended Baltimore City police officer who is facing murder and child-abuse charges in hisson's death.

Carl W. Morris, 34, went on trial last week in Howard County Circuit Court before Judge James B. Dudley.

Morris told police and doctors Christopher and his siblings and cousins were "ripping and running" through the house Jan. 20, 1991. Morris said he found Christopher at the bottom of the stairs in his Columbia home with a carpet cleaner on top of him.

Christopher died of massive internal injuries later that night after surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Friend, 20, described Christopher as a quiet child who was content to sit alone in a corner and play with his toys.

"I don't recall him having any accidents or falling down," said Friend, 20, on the trial's fourth day. "Chris was the type of child (that) if you put him in one spot he would stay there."

Friend said Morris and Christopher were not close.

"He was kind of hard on Chris,he said he was spoiled," Friend testified. "He wouldn't play with him, he said he cried all the time."

The week before Christopher's death, Friend said Morris had told her that the baby had had two accidents in which he chipped a tooth, hit his face and cut a lip.

Morris said the first injury occurred when Christopher hit his head on a car gearshift, and later fell outside a 7-Eleven store.

Friend, worried about the baby's tooth, said that Morris refused to take the child to the dentist and told her there was nothing wrong with the boy.

During a discussion with doctors at Johns Hopkins after Christopher's death, Friend said Morris had taken the child to the emergency room after the accident at the 7-Eleven.

"Carl jumped up and said 'No, I didn't take him, I just told you that to shut you up,' " Friendtestified.

Morris has denied the charges against him and said he performed CPR and the Heimlich maneuver on Christopher after finding him at the bottom of the stairs.

In earlier testimony, two Johns Hopkins doctors who treated Christopher on the night of his death saidthe injuries were not consistent with Morris' account.

Morris wassuspended without pay from the Baltimore police force in October 1990, after being booked on assault charges in Prince George's County. Those charges are pending.

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