A mother accused of murder in the death of one of her twin infants and with endangering the welfare of the other has been found fit to stand trial.
A mental evaluation filed in the case of Crystal Morrow, 25, expresses the opinion of a mental health expert that she is competent to proceed to trial in the September 2019 death of her 7-month-old daughter, Kimberly, and endangering the welfare of Kimberly’s twin brother.
Morrow and her husband, Dustin Harley, 20, were arrested in February 2020 by the Miller County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a probable cause affidavit, an emergency call was made Sept. 27, 2019, from the couple’s home in Fouke for help with the twins who were “having trouble breathing.” First responders attempted life saving measures which briefly revived Kimberly but she died at the scene. Kimberly’s brother was airlifted to a Texarkana hospital and later to a Little Rock hospital in dire medical condition.
Investigators noted the laundry room where the children slept in a day crib was allegedly “piled high with laundry” and crawling with roaches. Roaches were allegedly observed crawling in the crib. The couple allegedly told MCSO Investigator Patsy DeHart that Morrow had given the babies bottles early that morning and the night before. Morrow allegedly reported that she’d gone to check on the children when her father paid the home a visit.
Miller County’s Coroner, Dakota Bloyd, allegedly noted that Kimberly was wearing a full diaper, had secretions around her mouth, nose and ears and had dirty fingernails. Staff at Arkansas Children’s Hospital described Kimberly’s brother as severely dehydrated with signs of medical distress that any adult would recognize as an emergency.
An autopsy performed on Kimberly found she was in less than the 5th percentile for her age. Kimberly’s ribs were protruding and her eyes and fontanelle were allegedly sunken.
Morrow appeared Tuesday before Miller County Circuit Judge Wren Autrey for a pretrial hearing. She is scheduled to return to court in March. Chief Deputy Proseucting Attorney Connie Mitchell is prosecuting.
Harley is scheduled to appear for a pretrial hearing next month before Circuit Judge Brent Haltom. Both Harley and Morrow are currently free on $50,000 bonds.
If found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of their daughter, Morrow and Harley face six to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. If found guilty of endangering the welfare of their son, Morrow and Harley face up to six years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.