09 February 2017
After hearing testimony Thursday (Feb. 2) about Sammie Morris bothering a 16-year-old Sheetz clerk, Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore ordered Morris to serve a year behind bars.
“I don’t think I can trust him,” Moore said.
In 2013 the court found Morris guilty of using a communication device to solicit a minor. He had to register as a sex offender. Even though he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, he was released with time served after a judge suspended the rest of the sentence.
Morris was ordered to spend that time on probation and to follow strict guidelines. Those included staying away from minors.Since then, Morris was arrested twice for failing to register as a sex offender. Morris said Thursday he had been homeless and didn’t know that when he moved to Louisa he had to change his address.
Morris, 28, testified Thursday that in early 2016 he was homeless and “hanging out at Sheetz to eat and get warm. “
He said some employees knew he was a sex offender. “I heard people joke and criticize and make more of it than it was,” he said.
Morris said a state police officer confronted him at Sheetz, saying she was “investigating a report saying I was doing inappropriate things in the bathroom. I was not.”
Since that day in July, Morris said he has not gone inside the store. He does landscaping for a man and lives in a trailer on his boss’ Louisa property.
Morris said his boss and his youngest sister were in the courtroom supporting him.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nancy Oglesby asked Morris about four affidavits from Sheetz employees that pointed to his bothering a 16-year-old clerk at the store.
“Did you say to her that any person who would have her would be a lucky man? Did you ask her for her phone number? Did you tell her there is nothing wrong with dating an older man? Did you offer to buy her a purse? To buy her food?” Oglesby said.
Morris said no, he did not.
“So everything she wrote down here is a lie?”
“Yes,” Morris said.
Oglesby said it was clear Morris was in violation of his parole.
“It’s beyond belief that four people would conspire against him – as if they were out to get him,” Oglesby said.
Defense Attorney Richard Harry said the manager needed to find a way to get Morris off the property.
“Those four didn’t confront him,” Harry said. “He said he didn’t do it. He hasn’t been back at the store since July. They got the result they wanted.”
The judge said he had two questions before him: “Are you in violation of failing to register and are you in violation of good behavior? I am more concerned about the other allegations. Are they true? Are you a danger to young women?”
Nothing was introduced to challenge the witness statements, Moore said. “There is no evidence that would impeach their credibility.”
The judge said he believed Morris was talking to the 16-year-old and that he needed to learn to control himself.
Harry said during Morris’ two years of supervised probation, there were no problems.
At Sheetz, “nothing else did happen,” Harry said. “Maybe it was the reminder he needed to stay away.“
Moore said normally with a first violation and no subsequent acts, he wouldn’t find someone in violation.
“My real concern is he’s still in denial. He doesn’t think he has a problem. He said it didn’t happen. He said they’re making it up,” Moore said. “That makes it a problem and concern for me. I don’t think I can trust him. I’m giving him a one year active sentence.”
Deputies put Morris in handcuffs and led him away.