A Graves County jury recommended a 90-year total sentence Thursday for a man jurors determined shot his ex-girlfriend three times.
Except when imposing a sentence of life in prison or more, Kentucky law allows a maximum term of 70 years, so that will be the limit Graves Circuit Judge Tim Stark can sentence Bradley Morris to during formal sentencing proceedings Oct. 14. With any sentence of 24 years or more, the Kentucky Parole Board may consider granting parole after the defendant has served 20 years in prison.
Kathy "K.C." Bouland was shot in the calf, knee and shoulder nearly two years ago.
"I hate it for the (Morris) family, but I feel like I have gotten some justice out of it," she said after the verdict. "I can move on with my life. I want to thank the Commonwealth for doing such a good job."
Commonwealth Attorney Richie Kemp and Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Aimee Clymer-Hancock prosecuted the case. Mayfield police Detective Lt. Brent Farmer was the lead investigator.
"I'm very happy with the jury's verdict, very happy for K.C. and her family and all the people who put so much time into the case," Kemp said.
Clymer-Hancock added that she wanted to thank the jurors for their time and attention and that she appreciated their heart-felt deliberation.
Cirris Hatfield was the lead defense attorney for Morris, with attorney Jeanné Carroll assisting. Both declined to comment following the trial.
Morris was accused of shooting Bouland Dec. 6, 2017, at an apartment complex at South Ninth and West Oak streets. Bouland told the jury she was standing outside, holding her daughter's dog in her arms, when Morris jumped out of a sport utility vehicle and began firing. He then chased her inside, still firing. She locked herself into a bathroom, but he fired through the door, she said. Defense attorneys argued Morris was not the shooter.
The trial began Tuesday. On Wednesday, the jury first found Morris, 43, guilty of first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, and tampering with physical evidence. Jurors then learned Morris was a convicted felon and found him guilty of being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun.
On Thursday, the same jury then further determined Morris met the criteria for being a second-degree persistent felony offender. They learned he had previously been charged with first-degree assault, but that it was amended to second-degree assault, and Morris was sentenced to 10 years in prison for that offense.
"I really think these charges are very straight-forward," Kemp said in his closing argument in the trial.
Although no motive was ever given and Morris never confessed, Kemp noted that Bouland told investigators immediately who shot her.
"From seconds after the shooting, for two years straight, she said he is the one who shot her," Kemp said. "I am asking you to see her and believe her."
Hatfield argued the police had tunnel vision and that when Bouland said Morris was the shooter, they never looked for anyone else. They also did not have fingerprint, DNA, gunshot residue or cell phone data in the case, and they never asked witnesses who saw a man running away after the shooting to view a photo lineup.
In the trial's penalty phase, Hatfield told the jury, "This is the part of the case where you get to be human, where you get to extend mercy and grace to someone."
She called the defendant's mother, Sharon Morris, as well as Chief Deputy Jailer Pete Jackson as witnesses to talk about his behavior in jail and how Morris worked hard and helped his family.
"My husband, he doesn't think he's going to live to see him get out," Sharon Morris told the jury before adding, "Please have mercy on him. We need him."
Clymer-Hancock called Bouland to testify. She talked about living in fear "every second of every minute of every day" and still being able to smell the smoke from Morris' gun.
"My whole life stopped on Dec. 6, 2017," Bouland said, adding, "It's not just me suffering. It's my kids and my mother."
Every time she looks in the mirror, she sees the scars left behind from where she was shot, she said.
Clymer-Hancock told the jury that mercy and grace are qualities granted to those who deserve it, not to a felon who shouldn't have had a handgun, one who already had been convicted of assault previously and one who would attack an unarmed woman in broad daylight in Mayfield.
She had the jury watch a five-minute segment of police body cam footage in which Bouland was lying in the floor, moments after being shot, screaming in pain and begging God for help.
"The defense has asked for mercy," Clymer-Hancock said. "Mercy. Where was Kathy Bouland's mercy?"