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Fayetteville mom facing murder charge once described as violent

Posted November 14, 2012
Updated November 15, 2012

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— The paternal grandfather of a 4-year-old who was suffocated last week once filed a restraining order against the girl's mother, who is charged in her death.

Court documents show Sterling Morris filed for a petition in December 2009 after his daughter-in-law, Jaime Morris, went to his house late one night, going "door to door, knocking loudly and cursing," then drove through his yard and over his shrubbery.

"She is violent, and we fear for the granddaughter," he wrote in the application for the restraining order.

He added that Jaime Morris, at the time, had been visiting her daughter, Bella Marie Morris, but that the arrangement could not "work any longer."

In the court documents, Sterling Morris wrote that, on another occasion, he had to call police before Jaime Morris would let go of Bella in his house.

Jaime Morris, 36, of 4618 Elcone Drive, was arrested Monday on charges of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in her daughter's death.

The child lived with her grandparents, who had custody since 2009, and had been visiting her mother for less than three hours on Nov. 5 when Sterling Morris found her on the floor and called 911.

Bella, who was buried Saturday, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Her mother, according to authorities, tried to commit suicide.

It's unclear how long the 2009 restraining order was in effect or when it expired. Also unclear are the circumstances surrounding Bella's last visit with her mother. Bella Marie Morris Fayetteville mom charged in daughter's death was once described as violent

Sterling Morris on Wednesday declined to talk about any visitation agreements, saying only that Bella was with her mom for 2½ hours that day.

He also said that his granddaughter's mother was separated from his son, Brian Morris, and that last year, the couple filed for restraining orders against each other after a fight that caused large bruises on Jaime Morris' face and body.

Her husband had some minor bruising and cuts and claimed that she stabbed him with a knife in his side.

The court granted the order for Jaime Morris but not for her husband of five years.

Sterling Morris also said that Jaime Morris has two other children from a previous marriage who are living in Colorado.

Meanwhile, investigators haven't said what might have led to Bella's death.

Jaime Morris made her first court appearance on Tuesday and, at times, wiped her eyes as the judge read the charges against her.

She is being held in the Cumberland County Detention Center without bond.

25 Comments

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  • gabewilliams12 Nov 20, 7:28 p.m.

    oh and please do not get me started on DSS..What a waste of a new building. DSS worker actually went and picked mom up from jail and came to court to say what a good mother she was. DUH!!

  • teddymac12 Nov 16, 11:13 a.m.

    People never look at the reality of things, restraining orders are just paper with a judges signature saying "stay away." It doesn't protect victims at all from immediate danger. As soon as the person with the restraining order against them decides to break the order they do their damage with a physical attack or worse murder. We need law enforcement and the judicial system to take restraining orders seriously and add prison time for people how don't want to comply. Someone disregarding an court order is worst than a drug dealer or drunk driver, in regards to the fact they are served the papers and they decide to purposely break the order anyway. No bail should be available until a hearing so the court can determine if they are an immediate danger to their victims safety and be aware of the repercussions of the disregard of an court order. A minimum of 5 years should be a sentence for these folks.

  • JAT Nov 15, 3:06 p.m.

    So sad. Why did the grandfather ever leave her alone with the poor child if she was that bad? It'd be interesting to know why she lost custody of her other children. Could be something beyond her control and maybe losing this girl just pushed her over the edge. At least the little girl no longer has to suffer.

  • aquamarine46 Nov 15, 11:37 a.m.

    It is such a shame that the courts (judge) couldn't see something like this was possible. No amount of "why's" can change anything now.......but HOPEFULLY it will put a sign in front of judges having to make visitation decisions in the future to "put the child first". I know they always want the "mother" to have custody or freedom of visitation. I had a friend who spent thousands of dollars fighting Social Services in order to adopt 2 children who had been placed in her care as a Foster Mother after being taken away from their mother. She finally won the case. The children had both been terribly abused, but SS thought they should be with their natural mother. SICK THINKING!!!!

  • immaannoid Nov 15, 11:22 a.m.

    If a woman doesn't have custody of her kids from a previous marriage, you don't want to marry her.

  • nopartyloyalty Nov 15, 11:06 a.m.

    I know a man who has visitation rights to his two children every other weekend, but he has to have his mother or father with them for the whole weekend. This is in Florida.

  • Zealotry Nov 15, 10:56 a.m.

    I have posted on this subject many times. Our Court system is BROKEN! The judges DO NOT have the best interest of our children as their main objective. Its all about "fairness" and who gives the best "show" in court.

  • airbornemonty Nov 15, 10:52 a.m.

    No one has said that the woman is mentally ill, the woman is simply a violent person never mind the gender.

    When her day in court arrives, her state appointed attorney will claim her to have mental problems and will have her appesr in court dressed like a primp old school teacher hoping to get leniency from the court and she will since our court system is below par.

  • one mean woman Nov 15, 10:41 a.m.

    Is so sad that North Carolins wwill not approve grand parents rights, I am a grand mother that has not been able to see her only granddaughter since she was 2 years old. My son was killed in 2002 his daughter was 15 months old, he was our only child. But the state of North of Carolina dose not they my husband and I should be able to see our only grandchild. That a shame because her granddaddy is dying with cancer and will never know what she look's like.

  • cindylouwho514 Nov 15, 10:38 a.m.

    She "tried" to commit suicide? She didn't "try" hard enough.

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