Potomac News Online | Dale City man sentenced to serve two years

A Dale City man was sentenced to serve two years in prison Thursday for abusing his 4-year-old stepson.

The boy’s injuries were consistent with near asphyxia, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Prince William Circuit Court in April 2004.


Douglas Eugene Morris, 23, was charged with felony child abuse and malicious wounding in April 2004 after the boy was taken to his pediatrician. Doctors there sent the boy to Potomac Hospital in an ambulance. The boy had bruises on his head, nose, chest, abdomen, back, neck, inside his mouth and around his eyes. His upper jaw was swollen and two of his teeth were loose.

Morris of 14040 Ardmore Loop was originally charged with felony child abuse and malicious wounding. The malicious wounding charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement. In January, Morris entered an Alford plea to the abuse charge. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but admits the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict if the case were to go to trial.

Morris told Prince William County Police Detective Kathleen Oelschlegel that on April 22, 2004, he took some painkillers for oral surgery he had a few days prior, according to Oelschlegel’s notes that were filed with the Circuit Court in January. Morris said he rested while the children’s mother, Rachel Leah Stone, went out to run errands.

He was awakened about an hour later when his stepson hit him on the chin with a phone, Morris said. Morris then gave two accounts of disciplining the boy, according to Oelschlegel’s notes. In one, he sent the boy to time out, and later discovered the boy hitting his head against the wall. Morris said he bear hugged the boy to restrain him. In the second account, Morris said he slapped the boy on the face, pounded him on the chest and threw him to the floor.

The boy’s mother, Stone, 21, was charged with child neglect in the incident. Last week, that charge was dropped.

“What happened was not neglectful on my client’s part. She was not at the home at the time,” Stone’s defense attorney Barry A. Zweig said. “Ultimately, the issue was resolved in a manner favorable to her … and enables her to provide for her family. This is a mother who absolutely adores her kids. She’s a kid trying to do the right thing.”

Circuit Court Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. had ruled earlier in Stone’s case that Detective Oelschlegel and Child Protective Services Investigator Van Washington violated Stone’s Miranda rights when Washington suggested her children would be taken from her unless she talked to them. Stone had requested an attorney at the interview but relented after the threat.

Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Lon E. Farris sentenced Morris to five years in prison with three years suspended. The suspended time is based upon a five-year probation. Farris also ordered Morris to pay $5,000 for counseling for the boy. Morris is ordered not to have contact with the boy or the boy’s twin sister.

Similar Posts