Monday, January 28, 2008

People v. Morton (Cal. Ct. App. - Jan. 22, 2008)

Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or cry:

"The events giving rise to the crimes charged against Morton occurred on November 7, 2004. At that time, Morton resided with his girlfriend and alleged victim, Theresa Windham. According to the prosecution’s evidence, Morton was sitting in the living room watching television, while Windham was cooking in the kitchen, topless. Morton made an unflattering comment about Windham’s appearance as compared to that of a stripper in the movie he was watching. Windham took umbrage, told Morton she was going to move out, and noted that he also fared poorly in comparison to the 'good looking and big' man in the movie.

Not to be outdone in the umbrage department, Morton picked up the chair he had been sitting in, and tried to throw it through the window near Windham. He then grabbed a wooden table and threw that at Windham. Neither connected.

Windham went into the hallway, picked up the phone and attempted to call 911. Morton grabbed the phone from her, and they both went into the bedroom. Morton hit Windham several times in the jaw with a closed fist, and 'head-butt[ed]' her. When Windham began screaming, he grabbed her by the throat from behind, and a neighbor heard her shout 'you’re going to choke me to death.' According to the neighbor, Morton responded something to the effect of 'I don’t give a damn, you bitch.'

Morton and Windham ended up on the floor, and Morton again choked her until Windham thought she would actually pass out. Although Windham was able to get Morton’s hands off her throat, he remained on top of her. He squatted over her face, then pulled down his pants and told Windham 'I’m going to shit on you.'

Windham managed to escape this Fellini-esque nightmare, and fled the apartment, still topless. Morton followed her, but according to Windham, his mood had changed. He told Windham he loved her and wanted to go to his sister’s house. A neighbor overheard him say to Windham: 'be quiet, because if the cops come, I’m going to be gone. Is that what you want?'"

It goes on like this. While reading the description of the facts, at times, I had both reactions. Some of the comments are so bizarre and crazy and strange as to be funny. And yet, knowing that it's all real, and knowing how the cycle persists (as well as the physical results), makes it impossible to feel anything other than sorrow.