|Rachelle Hansen-Morris (mug shot GCSO)|
The ex-wife of a former Republic alderman has entered an Alford plea in connection to his murder in August of 2008.
Rachelle L. Hansen-Morris, 28, entered the plea today in Greene County. Prosecutors say Rachelle Morris lured 28 year-old Josh Morris to J. R. Martin Park on August 2, 2008, and shot him in front of the couples two children, who were seven and three at the time of their father's murder.
The Morris's were involved in a visitation dispute, according to court records. Court documents show Josh Morris filed for divorce in August 2007 and was awarded sole custody of the children in March of 2008. Rachelle Morris was denied unsupervised visitation.
According to search warrant documents, investigators found a receipt for a Taurus-brand 9mm handgun and ammunition that were purchased at 9:38 a.m. on Aug. 2 at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World - just a few hours before Josh Morris was murdered.
Rachelle Morris has been in jail and a mental health hospital since the murder. Shortly after she was charged Morris was found unfit to stand trial by Greene County Associate Circuit Court Judge Mark Fitzimmons because she was suicidal. Court documents say her daughter allegedly told police: "After the bang, I saw mommy with a gun pointing it at her head."
|Josh Morris was murdered in front of his children|
When Josh Morris filed for an order of protection from his former wife in August 2007 he wrote, "My wife and I separated approx. two months ago. After the separation she attempted suicide and was admitted into the Marian Center. She was released after a week, but her erratic behavior continued."
In October of 2009 Circuit Judge Tom Mountjoy ruled that Morris was competent to stand trial after receiving mental health treatment.
Morris could receive up to life in prison for second-degree murder and armed criminal action when she is sentenced on December 9th.