Man who threatened to kill Judge Medlock sentenced

Man who threatened to kill Judge Medlock sentenced

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On Thursday, July 22, 2021, Dalton Morris, 26, North Rinkers Creek Road, was sentenced after being convicted of Intimidation, a level 5 felony, and a probation violation. 

Special Judge, Joseph Claypool, from Harrison County sentenced Morris to 7 years of incarceration with 2 years suspended to supervised probation. 

According to the police report, a relative of the defendant informed police on March 4 that Morris told her and a man who was present that he planned to kill Circuit Court Judge Larry Medlock and other individuals at the Washington County Justice Center.

According to police, Morris said he planned to go to the Justice Center and start shooting.

The man who was present works as a jailer and told police Morris looked him in the eye and said, “I don’t care who is there.”  

The two left the home where they were talking with Morris and reported the incident to law enforcement.

The report states the two relayed that Morris believed he was treated unfairly by Judge Medlock and complained about how much he had spent on court costs and attorney fees.

A female witness said she believed Morris’s threats were real, noting Morris said if he were to be pulled over he would start shooting.

Police were able to locate Morris via cell phone location at Cobblestone Hotel.

There, they found the vehicle registered to his girlfriend with a rifle in plain view inside. The hotel clerk advised Morris and his girlfriend had checked in.

After obtaining a search warrant, officers called the room. Morris spoke with them and agreed to step out of the room.

He was arrested without incident.  

Morris said he felt he had been treated unfairly by Judge Medlock, but denied making any threats.

The police report noted Morris became angry when talking about his court cases.  

Morris first told police he didn’t have any weapons and denied knowing about the rifle, but finally admitted he was aware the gun was in the car.

During the search of the room, officers located a .38 caliber round and additional rounds were found in the vehicle.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Medlock testified about the impact the threat had on him, his family, and his staff.  He noted, however, that he believed it was important to stand up as a crime victim and testify because that is what crime victims go through every day in his court. 

Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin, argued at the sentencing that, “this was a terrible crime against Judge Medlock and the other direct victims here, but it was also an attack against our entire system of justice.  Anything short of the maximum punishment chips away at the very foundation of safety and justice in our community.” 

After the sentencing, Houchin noted, “I am pleased with the strong sentence Judge Claypool handed down in this case.  I thank him for his service to the people of Washington County.”