A man accused of committing four felonies entered a plea deal last week resulting in two of the charges being dropped.
Ward Morris, St. Maries, is accused of two counts of distributing child pornographic material, sexual battery or soliciting a minor 16 to 17 in age and committing an infamous crime against nature.
Morris entered an Alford plea last Friday, pleading guilty to counts one and two of distributing child pornographic material.
The one count of soliciting a minor 16 to 17 in age and one count of infamous crimes against nature were dropped as result of the court accepting the Alford plea. Morris also waived his right to an appeal as part of the plea deal.
An Alford plea is when a person admits the evidence the prosecutor would present at trial would be enough to prove the person guilty. The defendant does not have to admit to committing the crime like in a standard plea of guilty.
According to the court minutes Morris stated he had a stroke in Sept. 2021. Morris’ attorney, Douglas Phelps, stated Morris has cognitive function but “there is some impairment to remember.”
According to the court minutes, county Prosecutor Mariah Dunham said Morris committed both counts of distributing child pornographic materials via Twitter.
The minutes state that Morris was the account holder and the Twitter address was tied to his email, address and IP address.
Both counts could each carry a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.
Morris’ jury trial set for October was vacated due to the plea deal.
His sentencing is set for January 19, 2023.
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