Jessica Morris agreed Monday to testify against her husband, Gabriel, the man she fled across the country with after his mother and her boyfriend were killed in their home outside Bandon.
Gabriel Morris is accused of two counts of aggravated murder, and is in Virginia, fighting extradition back to Oregon.
In exchange for the 33-year-old Idaho woman’s cooperation, Coos County Circuit Judge Richard Barron agreed to release Jessica Morris from jail on Monday, sentencing her to three years’ probation and ordering her to pay $1,344 in restitution.
Barring an objection from state public health officials, Morris could regain custody of her 4-year-old daughter, Kalea, who is now living with Bill and Rita Pope, the girl’s grandparents, in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier made it clear in court on Monday that he was not granting Morris immunity from prosecution in the Feb. 8 killings of Robin Anstey and Bob Kennelly and that she could face new charges if information arises showing she was involved in the killings.
But, based on the evidence in hand now, Frasier said, it appears that Jessica Morris was asleep with her daughter when Anstey and Kennelly were shot, in a bedroom of Anstey’s home.
She awoke to the sound of gunshots and the screaming of Kalea, Frasier said in court. Then Gabriel reportedly came into the room, saying, “We need to get out of here.”
The trio left the house, passing Anstey and Kennelly’s bodies in the doorway and on the porch, and escaped in Kennelly’s pickup truck, Frasier said.
Morris’ agreement on Monday means she is waiving her “marital privilege” rights that she could have invoked to avoid testifying against her husband. Gabriel can still keep his wife from testifying about conversations the two of them had in private, but Jessica agreed to tell authorities about things she saw and heard.
Jessica Morris pleaded guilty to a felony charge of hindering prosecution. But if she successfully completes her probation and doesn’t leave the state, the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor, in accordance with Oregon law.