A York County grand jury has indicted 17-year-old Jacob Morgan on charges of murder, arson and homicide by child neglect or abuse, in connection with the March house fire that killed his toddler brother, the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office says.
The indictments were handed down Thursday. Deputy Solicitor Willy Thompson said the additional charge of homicide by child abuse is appropriate because the facts fit the criteria of that and the murder and arson charges.
“All of the facts fit those charges,” he said. “Since those charges are not duplicates of each other, they are separate charges.”
Morgan’s attorney, 16th Circuit Deputy Public Defender B.J. Barrowclough, said he was aware prosecutors were pursuing the homicide by child abuse charge.
“It doesn’t really change our position at all,” he said Friday. “He’s pleading not guilty, and it looks like we’re going to trial.”
Morgan, who remains in jail without bond at the Moss Justice Center, is accused of setting a fire at his family’s Catawba Church Road home on March 6 while his 14-month-old brother, Joshua Hill, slept in a bedroom.
He was outside the home when authorities arrived, and was charged several days later after he and his parents were interviewed by detectives.
A judge ruled last month that the case can proceed, and bond was denied for the teenager a short time later.
Teddy Kulmala • 803-329-4082