Morse Awaits Verdict in Waterboarding Case - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Morse Awaits Verdict in Waterboarding Case


GEORGETOWN, Del. - The man accused of waterboarding his step-daughter is now awaiting the verdict from the jury. On Wednesday, the closing arguments were made in the case against the former Milton pediatrician Melvin Morse, facing three charges, relating to child abuse. 

After approximately three weeks of trial, the jury will make decisions on Morse's charges of assault in the 3rd degree, Endangering the Welfare of a child, and Reckless Endangering in the 1st degree. Deliberation is expected to begin Thursday morning at the Sussex County courthouse. 

Before the closing arguments began, the "Charging of the Jury" was recited by the judge, which essentially explains the instructions of deliberation. When that process was completed, Prosecutor Melanie Withers delivered her closing argument. 

She spoke emotionally about the family, telling the jury that Morse was a threat to his step-daughter. 

"The evidence in this case is that the defendant is a highly intelligent, manipulative, control freak," she said. 

Withers showed a video of the young girl, in which she told a therapist she was waterboarded. She also reminded the jury that both the girl's sister and mother, Pauline had confirmed this story on the stand just days before. 

In regards to the assault charge, she also showed a video of Morse admitting to the detective after arrest, that he had dragged the girl out of the car by the ankles on July 12, 2012. She continued to show photos of the girl's bruises on her back and legs.

The state's charges are focused on four main incidents of abuse. Other than the July dragging from the car, the state is focusing on two incidents of alleged waterboarding, and one incident of suffocation through the pinching of the girl's nose. 

The defense said that the state failed to prove the charges beyond an unreasonable doubt. Kevin Tray, one of Morse's attorneys showed another video in his closing statement, in which the young girl told a therapist she was molested by her step-sister. On the stand, the girl had admitted that this was a lie. 

As soon as the clip ended, Tray turned to the jury and said the words "complete fabrication."

Tray explained to the jury that the girl said she made this lie to try and get her step-sister out of the house. Now, he said the girl is doing the same thing, trying to get Morse out of the home. 

"She had the same motive then," he said. "And she has the same motive now."

The jury will begin deliberation on Thursday, so long as the court remains open. 

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