Local News

Slain mom's father, stepmom awarded full child custody

Posted January 7, 2010 1:01 p.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2010 9:25 p.m. EST

— A District Court judge on Thursday granted full custody of a slain Granville County woman's 6-year-old daughter to her father and stepmother.

Pat Currin and his wife, Juanita Currin, filed a request for custody in November, the same day authorities discovered the remains of his daughter, Kelly Morris, in a wooded area in Creedmoor.

Kelly Morris had been missing for more than 14 months after she failed to show up for work on Sept. 4, 2008. The same day, the house she shared with her family caught fire and her car, purse and cell phone were found in a neighborhood about a mile from her home.

Her husband, Scott Morris, 35, faces charges of first-degree murder and fraudulently burning a dwelling.

Scott Morris was called to testify at Thursday's hearing, but he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to do so. His attorney, Jerry Clayton, presented no evidence and no one testified on his client's behalf.

Pat and Juanita Currin both testified.

"I love her," Juanita Currin said of the 6-year-old. "We are committed to do whatever it takes to get her whatever she needs."

Each said they have allowed Scott Morris' parents to visit with the child on three occasions – a request he made before the judge at a temporary custody hearing in November.

Kelly Morris had two daughters. The other girl has been staying with her biological father since her mother's disappearance.

Scott Morris remains in custody of the Granville County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities have not offered a motive for Kelly Morris' slaying, but according to search warrant affidavits related to the case, investigators allege that the couple had marital problems and were considering divorce.