A suspended Baltimore police officer convicted of beating to death his 20-month old son was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison by a Howard County judge.
Carl William Morris, Jr., 34, formerly of the 6400 block of Barchink Place in Columbia, was found guilty in April of involuntary manslaughter and child abuse in the death of his son, Christopher Andre Morris.
He was acquitted of a first-degree murder charge.
"I can't think of anything more repulsive to civilized people than the beating of a child to death," said Circuit Judge James B. Dudley before he imposed sentence.
"This was a cruel, brutal, vicious crime committed by a police officer who has lied to a jury and shows no remorse."
Judge Dudley said he found it particularly troubling that as a police officer Morris was "cloaked with a special aura of social trust."
Morris, a former patrol officer with the Baltimore Police Department, received a 16-year sentence on the child abuse conviction and a 10-year sentence for the crime of involuntary manslaughter. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
Morris maintained his innocence in Christopher's death.
"I didn't kill my son," Morris told Judge Dudley. "There was a trial, and I was found guilty of two things I didn't do."
Roger Malik, Morris's lawyer, said he plans to file a motion for a new trial. Evidence that was unavailable at the time of the trial will show that Christopher's death was accidental, said Ben Guiffre, a private detective working for Mr. Malik. Mr. Guiffre would not elaborate.
Christopher died of uncontrollable bleeding of a major artery in his abdominal area. Major internal organs were also damaged, and he had severe bruising over his entire body as well as injuries to his genital area.
Morris told police and doctors that he found Christopher at the bottom of the stairs in his Columbia home with a carpet steam cleaner on top of him.
During the trial, doctors from Johns Hopkins Hospital who tried to save Christopher said the fatal injury to the child's abdomen was delivered with direct, substantial force.
They said the child couldn't have received such injuries by falling down six carpeted stairs or having a carpet cleaner fall on top of him.
Morris was suspended without pay from the Baltimore police force in October 1990 after being booked on assault charges in Prince George's County.
Because of his felony conviction, the Baltimore Police Department is permitted to fire Morris without a hearing, said Agent Doug Price. The department plans to wait to see if Morris appeals his conviction before formally dismissing him, Agent Price said.