Jury finds Roy woman guilty in daycare child homicide


OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) –  A jury took less than five hours to deliberate before reaching a guilty verdict in the death of  8-month old Lincoln Penland.

Tisha Morley was charged with a first degree child homicide in the death of Penland.  In 2014, she was the daycare provider in Roy when Penland was injured and later died.

Morley was charged with his murder and after 11-days of hearing evidence the jury gave the Penland family the justice they’ve been seeking over the past three-and-a-half years.

“It’s been a long road,” said Lincoln’s father, Chris. “This can now be about Lincoln and not about this trial..  The memory of my son should be about Lincoln, he as a person.”

For three and a half years Morley fought the charges.  Her attorneys filed delays and motions to challenge evidence in hopes of getting the case dismissed.  All the while, she maintained her innocence, claiming it was another child at the daycare.

Branden Miles, the chief deputy criminal prosecutor with the Weber County attorney’s office has been keeping track of this case.

“One thousand one hundred and eighty-two days,” he said about the case.:

He said the defense claims which was to cast reasonable doubt were shallow.

“Not in this case,” Miles said.  “The evidence did not support the assertions they were making. And it came from excellent professionals from Primary Children’s medical center.”

The guilty verdict means the Penlands can now move on with their lives.  Both closed their eyes when hearing the guilty verdict.

“Glad it was over,” Chris Penland said when he heard the verdict read. “Glad it was over.”

They are grateful for all of the support shown to them since the death of Lincoln.
And their spirits were lifted last year.  The Penlands were given another gift, a baby girl.

“Our daughter has truly been a blessing in our lives,” said Alesha Penland. “And she is a lot like Lincoln was, very happy . We know we were very blessed to have her.”

Morley was taken away in handcuffs and will be sentenced in June.  The first degree felony charge carries a fifteen-years-to-life prison sentence.

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