Soldier gets life sentence for killing her kids


MANNHEIM, Germany (April 15, 2002) -- A military judge found
Spc. Lillie Morgan, the finance clerk charged with drowning her two young
children, guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to life in

Morgan, 22, was a clerk for the 39th Finance Battalion in Hanau,
Germany, when she killed her 2-month-old daughter, Jazmin, and her
3-year-old son, Joshua.

Morgan and others testified that she filled a bathtub with water on
the evening of Sept. 18 in her home at Sportsfield Kaserne in Hanau. Then
she held her son underwater for at least three minutes before pulling her
baby daughter from a crib and dunking her in the tub.

Morgan pleaded not guilty, though, by reason of insanity, in the
court-martial that began April 1. Although Army psychiatrists diagnosed
Morgan with schizophrenia and psychosis, a psychiatric board determined
that she was not insane and knew what she was doing.

Prosecution attorneys argued that Morgan killed her children to get
revenge on her husband. Morgan herself testified that she argued with her
husband the night before because he wanted to run around with other women.
Her husband, Robert Spencer Morgan, never appeared at the court-martial. He
was involuntarily separated from the Army last year.

Lt. Col. Stephen Henley was the presiding judge in Morgan's
court-martial at the Army's Mannheim Law Center at Taylor Barracks. Morgan
waived her right to be tried by a panel of her peers. After hearing closing
arguments April 11, Henley deliberated for about four hours before
rendering the guilty verdict about 4:15 p.m. on two counts of premeditated murder.

Morgan's sentencing April 12 included a reduction to the rank of
private (E1), forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable
discharge from the U.S. Army. Although sentenced to life in prison, Morgan
will be considered for parole in 20 years, according to military

Morgan served pre-trial confinement at the European Regional
Confinement Facility, Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, Germany. She will now be
taken to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for processing, Army officials said,
before serving her life sentence at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Miramar,
Calif., the military's only long-term confinement facility for women.