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A 58-year-old Keyes man who held down his sister-in-law while his older brother strangled her has been found suitable for parole.
Richard Dean Morris was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the 1984 death of Cindy Morris.
On Aug. 6, Morris was found suitable for parole, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release.
On Monday, Morris remained incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. State parole officials have 120 days to review the decision. Then, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office will review Morris’ case and determine whether to uphold, overturn or modify the state parole board’s decision.
Prosecutors say Morris held down his sister-in-law while Robert Morris, strangled her. The victim was married to the siblings’ other brother, Randall Morris. The killing was the result of “inter-familial conflicts,” prosecutors have said.
Initially, Richard and Robert Morris tried to give the victim pills to kill her, according to prosecutors. When that failed, they tried to smother her with a pillow. When that was unsuccessful, she was strangled. Both men were convicted of murder.
Prosecutors said Richard Morris stabbed another inmate in 1986 while incarcerated at Folsom state prison. He was convicted in Sacramento County for the stabbing and sentenced to serve an additional life prison term.
Deputy District Attorney Blythe Harris attended Morris’ parole hearing earlier this month. The prosecutor argued that Morris should remain in prison, because he would pose an unreasonable risk to public safety if he was released.
Morris qualified for release as a “youthful offender,” because he was younger than 25 years old when he committed murder, prosecutors said.
Morris had been denied parole twice before, because he posed an unreasonable risk. In February 2018, Morris was denied parole for three years but he was eligible for early scheduled parole hearing.