Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Deputy gets life for death of sheriff



By Roger Alford
The Associated Press

SOMERSET, Ky. - Jeff Morris wanted so badly to be sheriff that he participated in a plot to kill the longtime officeholder.

Instead of the brown uniform of a Kentucky sheriff, Morris, 36, will be wearing prison garb. He was sentenced Monday to life in prison for his role in the murder of Sheriff Sam Catron, who was gunned down at a campaign rally last year.

"I am sorry that it went as far as it did," Morris said, turning to face Catron's family in the small third-floor courtroom in the Pulaski County Courthouse. "I hope and pray to God that you can forgive me sometime in your heart."

Morris, a former deputy, won't be eligible for parole for at least 25 years under a plea bargain that spared him the possibility of the death penalty. Under the plea agreement, Morris admitted to complicity to murder Catron to improve his chances of winning election.

Catron was shot minutes after delivering an re-election speech April 13, 2002. He was struck in the head by a single bullet fired from a nearby hillside.

As part of Morris' plea, he agreed to testify against another defendant in the case, Kenneth White.

Morris told Judge Paul Braden last month that White came up with the plan to kill the sheriff. He said he went along with it because he feared White might harm his family.

Morris also admitted giving Danny Shelley, the triggerman, his motorcycle as a getaway vehicle. Shelley pleaded guilty in March to murder in a deal that also spared him the death penalty. He, too, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for 25 years.

White, who pleaded not guilty to the charge against him, is scheduled for trial on Nov. 3. He is undergoing a mental evaluation to determine his competency.




ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Pulfer: Downtown has head start in lifestyle game
Korte: Inside City Hall

LOCAL HEADLINES
Elder plans new fields of dreams
Bail sticks in crash of bus
Suspect charged in rash of thefts
$12M naming deal at impasse
Workshop on I-75 hits jam
MSD told to resolve backups
Doctor lists girl's injuries
Good things happening
Miami U student from Mason dies after I-75 crash
Lockland High, Dohn High among Schools of Promise
Catholic students to have letters published
Butler tries new sludge disposal
Freedom Center given $1.1M by U.S. agency
Butler to honor notable women
Hooray for yoga: Classes growing
Regional Report

GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS GUIDE
Milford & Miami Township
OBITUARIES
R.O. Jackson, chemical engineer, ran local plant
Carol A. Spencer, 40, was editor for Mason company

KENTUCKY REPORT
Contract bidder attacks process
Murderer remorseless at sentencing
Covington may revive job of ombudsman
Drug makers overcharged Ky., suit claims
Deputy gets life for death of sheriff
Kentucky community agenda