Mental state of man in foiled abduction questioned

AP News
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Posted: Nov 18, 2014 4:05 PM
Mental state of man in foiled abduction questioned

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The defense attorney for a Utah man accused of grabbing a 5-year-old girl from her bed in a kidnapping thwarted by her father questioned his client's mental state Tuesday.

Lawyer Roger Kraft said in 48-year-old Troy Morley's first court appearance that he would likely seek an exam to determine his client's competency for trial. Morley appeared calm, acknowledging in a level voice that he understood the charges against him.

Morley, his gray hair thinning, appeared in a yellow jail jumpsuit with his hands shackled behind him. He is being held on $2 million bail.

"He's doing better today than he was last week, I can tell you that," Kraft said. "As far as I know, to this point, he's been a pretty good citizen until this case."

Police say the girl's stepfather foiled the attempted kidnapping when he awoke and confronted Morley.

Parents Stephanie and Aaron Edson attended Tuesday's hearing, but they did not take questions from reporters. Prosecutor Nathan Evershed said the couple wanted to see the court process unfold. The girl is recovering, he added.

"We've spoken with the parents, and she's doing fine," Evershed said. "They're very happy that the defendant has a pretty good-sized bail, and they're happy that he's in custody, and they're just trying to heal."

Police said Morley came into the house through an unlocked door and snatched the girl early Nov. 7. The sound woke the couple, who confronted the intruder. Morley handed her back without a fight, and he was caught a few blocks away in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City, authorities said.

He is charged with felony child kidnapping, which has a maximum possible sentence of life in prison. Morley also faces charges of burglary, criminal trespassing and interfering with an officer.

Utah court records show a pair of divorces and DUI charges in Morley's past. His neighbors in the northern Utah town of Roy said he had been caught sneaking into back yards, and they had bizarre and inappropriate encounters with him.

Judge Bruce Lubeck set a new hearing in the case for Dec. 2.