FATHER CHARGED IN KILLING

Relates to:
Date: 1999-09-04
OFFICIALS SAY MAN STOMPED HIS 7-YEAR-OLD FOSTER DAUGHTER TO DEATH AFTER THE GIRL PITCHED A TANTRUM

Author: Associated Press

Dateline: RUTLEDGE, GA.

A Morgan County man stomped his 7-year-old foster daughter to death when she threw a tantrum because he wouldn't buy her a doll, sheriff's officials said Friday.

Sheriff's deputies have charged 35-year-old Paul Morris, the girl's foster father, with murder and cruelty to children after an autopsy showed the girl died from a ruptured liver.

Mr. Morris and his wife were trying to adopt the girl, whose name investigators refused to release. She had been taken away from her natural parents because she was born addicted to cocaine and had been sexually and physically abused.

The attack happened Sunday when the Morris family had returned from the mall in Athens. Mr. Morris and his wife had bought one of their sons football cleats, and the girl was upset because she wanted a doll.

``This is not a family that just goes out and buys a lot of stuff all at one time,'' said Sheron Vance, an investigator for the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

Investigator Vance said Mr. Morris hit the child with his fists and a belt, then stomped on her and jumped on her with both feet. His wife and sons urged Mr. Morris to stop, but he ignored them, Investigator Vance said.

``He'd lost it,'' she said.

The girl's history of addiction and abuse may have made her prone to tantrums and other behavior problems, the investigator Vance said. She said she did not know what caused Mr. Morris to snap. He has no previous criminal record.

The girl had been living with the family about five months, though Investigator Vance did not know how close the couple was to adopting the girl.

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