Rock Hill SC man again denied parole after conviction in fire that killed baby brother_freckle removal on lip

Andrew Dys·4 min read

A South Carolina man, who has been in prison for seven years for a deadly Rock Hill fire that killed his baby brother, was denied parole Wednesday.

However, even with that denial, it appears under state law that Jacob Matthew Morgan could be released from prison as early as December. At that point he would have served about half of a 15-year sentence.

Morgan, now 24, was denied a chance at release Wednesday by the unanimous vote of a panel of the S.C. Parole Board after a video conference hearing, said Valerie Suber, associate deputy director of the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. The parole board had gathered in Columbia.

Morgan appeared in the parole hearing from MacDougall Correctional Institute in Berkeley County. It was his second parole hearing after he was denied in May 2021.

Joshua Hill, Morgan’s younger brother, was 14 months old when he died in the March 2015 mobile home fire in York County, just outside Rock Hill. Morgan was babysitting at the time. The incident captured national attention.

Morgan pleaded guilty in 2016 under what is called an Alford plea, a negotiated agreement with prosecutors where Morgan did not have to admit guilt but accepted there was evidence against him that would likely convict him. The agreement came after he had been indicted on charges of first-degree arson and murder and faced up to life in prison.

Morgan was convicted in 2016 on charges of third-degree arson, involuntary manslaughter and child neglect.

During the parole hearing

Morgan did not admit guilt Wednesday.

Parole Board chairman Henry Eldridge, of Tega Cay in York County, said Morgan was convicted of a serious charge and asked Morgan how he felt about it.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t regret my brother’s death,” Morgan replied to Eldridge via teleconference. “I would gladly change places with him.”

Eldridge then asked Morgan why he became involved in the deadly incident.

Morgan replied that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but did not elaborate.

(editor:)

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