Local News

Ex-Soldier Pleads Guilty to Killing 3 in Wreck

Posted March 6, 2008 3:33 p.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2008 10:44 p.m. EST

— 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.