Archive for Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ramona Morgan appeals convictions in U.S. 59 hit-and-run murders

Ramona Morgan, convicted of two second-degree murders in connection to a Sept. 11, 2007, chase that killed two highway workers, is appealing her sentence.

December 2, 2008


Ramona Morgan found guilty

Ramona Morgan was found guilty of killing two men and injuring a third when she drove her truck through a construction zone on U.S. Highway 59 south of Lawrence on Sept. 11, 2007.

A woman convicted of two counts of reckless second-degree murder for running over and killing two highway workers south of Lawrence in 2007 is appealing her conviction.

Ramona Morgan, 49, of Chewelah, Wash., was sentenced in November to serve 26 years in prison for the deaths of Ty Korte, 30, of Seneca, and Rolland Griffith, 24, of El Dorado, and for injuring a third worker, Curtis Delzell, also of El Dorado.

During her trial earlier this year, witnesses testified that Morgan drove around a pilot car twice at a U.S. Highway 59 work zone south of Lawrence on Sept. 11, 2007. The second time she struck Korte and Griffith, and law enforcement officers had to puncture the tires of her pickup truck in Osage County after a chase to get her to stop.

Morgan claimed she thought she was being chased by a gang of robbers after a dispute over some property she intended to buy in Missouri the day before. Morgan has denied she struck the workers and instead said she ran over construction equipment.

But prosecutors convinced jurors that Morgan showed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life” as she sped to 51 mph when the workers were struck.

District Judge Paula Martin has signed an order declaring Morgan indigent, meaning she can have an appointed attorney to appeal her conviction and prison sentence.

Morgan also faces a civil lawsuit from a fourth worker, Amanda Hopper, who claims she was injured during the ordeal.


OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 2 months ago

I've heard it said that when you appeal you can fall out of the frying pan and into the fire (so to speak). Is that true? Can she end up with "more" time by trying this?

somebodynew 9 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately probably not OldEnuf. I am not a lawyer and don't play one on TV, but the way I see it, even IF she won an appeal it would be for a new trial, on the same charges. So the sentencing probably wouldn't change if found guilty again.I doubt very seriously she will win an appeal though. But it is hard to know since the article does not even state what the appeal is based on. That would kind of help understanding.

John Hamm 9 years, 2 months ago

I'll put a little on she'll win an appeal and have to go for a new trial.

Evan Ridenour 9 years, 2 months ago

"I've heard it said that when you appeal you can fall out of the frying pan and into the fire (so to speak). Is that true? Can she end up with “more” time by trying this?"No

50YearResident 9 years, 2 months ago

Someone must be chasing her in the jail and she needs to get out.

jaywalker 9 years, 2 months ago

I'd imagine everyone who doesn't plea out files for appeal. She won't get it.

Puff_Dragon 9 years, 2 months ago

A true waste of our tax dollars again. Her atty. is just doing his 'milk the system' thingy....he knows she guilty as h*ll. Wasn't she supposedly out in this area to purchase a property.. but the judge finds her indigent? And wasn't there a previous connection with one of the victims and her daughter? This thing is a circus. Let her rot in jail.

somebodynew 9 years, 2 months ago

Puff- - I think you are confused between fact and myth. She was found indigent because her attorney, Mr. Rork, took all of her money !!! That is why she doesn't have any. (and I wouldn't be surprized if one of the claims is ineffective counsel.) It was never proven (beyond the myth factor) the daughter had anything to do with anyone on the crew. Never even brought up in court. If that were the case, the charges could have been more severe.

compmd 9 years, 2 months ago

"A true waste of our tax dollars again. "The amount paid to the jury is the big expense. Judges, district attorneys, and public defenders are salaried civil servants, they get paid no matter what; their pay has nothing to do with number of cases tried. Would you rather have jurors uncompensated for their time?"Her atty. is just doing his 'milk the system' thingy….he knows she guilty as h*ll."That would be called "zealous representation" and it is the attorney's obligation.However, from the way the article is written, it sounds like this appeal was filed by Morgan, not her attorney. It said she can have a public defender for the appeal. I am curious what the grounds for appeal are, because simply repeating "I didn't do it" isn't good enough.

ebyrdstarr 9 years, 2 months ago

Every defendant in Kansas is entitled by law to have review of the case by the appellate court. It would be shocking if Morgan did not pursue this right just as it would be shocking if any defendant convicted after a trial did not file a notice of appeal. It's also quite standard for the public defender system to take over for appeal after a retained attorney handled the trial. I'm sure Morgan's attorney filed the notice and asked that the PDs be appointed to represent her now that her financial resources are exhausted and she is incarcerated. The notice of appeal and opening documents to the appellate courts do not state the grounds for appeal because the appellate attorneys haven't seen the case yet so don't know what the issues will be.And oldenuf, no she cannot receive a higher sentence if she is reconvicted after a second appeal. First, I'm pretty sure she already got about the most she could. But more importantly, there is the legal doctrine that prohibits vindictive sentencing. A court can't increase a defendant's sentence just because it's ticked that the defendant had the nerve to exercise her right to appeal and be successful on that appeal.

samsnewplace 9 years, 2 months ago

Jurors make $10 a day, so that won't be a huge cost out of pocket. I guess everyone is entitled to go for an appeal, but she will still end up back in jail. A total waste of everyone's time for sure.

ebyrdstarr 9 years, 2 months ago

Due process is never a waste of time. An awful lot of "obviously guilty" convicted defendants have been exonerated on appeal. We go through the process in every case because we can't know which obviously guilty defendants really got the shaft unless we review cases.

yankeevet 9 years, 2 months ago

What a nasty woman.........................forget the appeal; get a rope; mule; and an oak justice at its best...............

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