Three-and-a-half-month-old Ashlee B. Morgan was the first homicide victim in Weber County this year. Her father was ordered Monday to stand trial in her beating death.
Robert B. Morgan, 18, North Ogden, appeared at his preliminary hearing and after hearing testimony from only two witnesses, 2nd Circuit Judge Pamela Heffernan ordered Morgan to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder.Morgan is scheduled to enter a plea to the charge, a first-degree felony, on Nov. 7 before 2nd District Judge David Roth.
Morgan is accused of killing the infant in his North Ogden home on Oct. 10. The defendant remains free from the Weber County Jail in lieu of a $5,000 bond.
In opening statements, Deputy Weber County Attorney Bill Daines said the baby girl bled to death after Morgan punched her in the stomach, lacerating her liver.
Daines said that after the girl died, police said Morgan confessed to the killing, telling a North Ogden detective, "I did it because I was frustrated . . . I hit her because she was crying."
The prosecuting attorney said that after Ashlee died in her crib, Morgan took the child to the Newgate Mall in South Ogden to find the baby's mother at work and then on to a local hospital where the infant was pronounced dead on arrival.
Dr. Sharon Schnittker, assistant director for the Utah medical examiner's office, testified that an autopsy showed the infant had old and fresh wounds inflicted through battering.
She determined that the 12-pound baby bled to death after someone punched her in the midsection, which lacerated the liver. Schnittker also testified that the baby had a skull fracture, bruising on the cheeks and nose, and five healing broken ribs.