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Ex-Soldier Pleads Guilty to Killing 3 in Wreck

Posted March 6, 2008

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— A former Fort Bragg soldier pleaded guilty Thursday to slamming his car into one at a red light near base in December 2006, killing three people.

Sgt. Clayton Morgan, 26, pleaded guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 11 to 14 months on each count.

Morgan was driving about 60 mph on North Reilly Road on Dec. 18, 2006, when his Nissan Pathfinder smashed into a Honda Accord that was stopped at a red light at Fillyaw Road, police said. His speed was 15 mph above the posted limit on North Reilly Road, police said.

Hyo Kyong Griffin, 48, and her 9-year-old son, Joshua, were killed in the Accord. The force of the collision pushed part of their car into a Harley-Davidson carrying Tom Parent, who also died.

An accident report stated Morgan's SUV left no skid marks before impact, and there were no signs he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police blamed the crash on inattention to the road.

Defense attorney Jack Carter called the wreck out of character for Morgan.

“He has an exemplary military record,” Carter said. “He was a combat medic. This was certainly atypical of his behavior.”

Morgan has been in the Cumberland County Detention Center since November and will receive credit for that time behind bars. He was in the custody of his military unit before that, but was administratively discharged last fall when the unit was deployed.

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  • Clint-o Mar 7, 2008

    Thanks Joe! You can "protect us" downrange but on american soil they're our own worst enemy? The moderator might not post this since it's a knock on our soldiers but I'm still excercising my right to freedom of the press/speech. Soldier's in the Fayetteville are get away with murder, literally. You have to live here to understand but I promise that anyone in the Fayetteville/Ft Bragg area will vouch for this. The family that was killed also lost their father/husband 2 weeks before this happened. All because of "inattention"? If he was drunk he would have got at least 10 years. So whats worse, being impaired or being stupid? Thanks Joe!

  • Adelinthe Mar 7, 2008

    Let this be a lesson to us all - driving our cars while talking on cell phones, reading maps, putting on makeup, correcting children - there is only one breath between life and death, and if you're inattention is the cause of someone's death, it's a burden a normal heart will carry for the rest of their lives.

    Praying for the victims, for this soldier and for the loved ones of them all.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Navaho1 Mar 6, 2008

    Sounds to me like the court stuck it to this guy for some reason. Unless there is something we do not know.

  • Worland Mar 6, 2008

    That's a steep penalty for a decorated soldier who had a car accident. A habitual drunk driver killed my cousin a while back and received no jail time. Makes no sense.

  • mayor Mar 6, 2008

    Can anyone say - cell phone?

  • Armando de Cabana Boy Mar 6, 2008

    GWALLY- You're right. He's getting a pretty stiff sentence considering they'll let an accused murderer out on bond, and he wasn't drunk or on drugs. Sad all the way around.

  • GWALLY Mar 6, 2008

    accidents happen...? Absolutely no way they "just" happen. There is a root cause each and every time.......never do they just happen, ever !!!

  • GWALLY Mar 6, 2008

    Well....for his sake.....it is a shame he could not blame it on being drunk, or an unhappy childhood, or being insane at the time.....he would have been given probation or let off with a slap on the wrist. When was the last time a drunk driver got that many years ?????

  • shannonmenasco Mar 6, 2008

    it could have been ANYBODY. accidents happen, it just a part of life. now more lives are being ruined because our INjustice system feels the need to make an example out of a soldier. this man served his country for 6 years saving peoples lives. unfair.

  • FragmentFour Mar 6, 2008

    It probably could have been any of us - particularly those of us who insist they can drive and yammer on the cell phone at the same time. But still... three people dead and he serves 11 - 14 months for each one? Seems a little cheap, doesn't it?

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