Local News

Fayetteville mom facing murder charge once described as violent

Posted November 14, 2012 5:41 p.m. EST
Updated November 15, 2012 5:50 a.m. EST

— 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.

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.