- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A St. Mary’s jail inmate found hanging in his cell last weekend remained unconscious Tuesday in a hospital bed, his mother said, as she spoke about his mental illness that accompanied a series of arrests, before and after his treatment at a state hospital.
Wesley Brennen Morris, 20, of Great Mills most recently was put back in the detention center last month to await his trial on charges that he twice assaulted a girlfriend.
Last summer, Morris was ruled to be not criminally responsible on animal-mutilation charges dating back to 2011 when law officers found a deer’s carcass with stab wounds off Indian Bridge Road.
Last summer’s diagnosis that Morris had a mental illness led a judge to commit him to the Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville, his mother said this week. He was released earlier this year, she said, without any transitional rehabilitation at a halfway house.
“He was able to convince the people at Spring Grove that he was fine,” Sharon Gonzalez said. “They put a bottle of pills in his hand and said ‘go get counseling.’ He crawled back into his old habits and behaviors.”
She said she was told last weekend that the county detention center’s staff checked on her son shortly after midnight Saturday morning and he was OK, but that when they returned within an hour, he was hanging from a bedsheet.
“They say he wrote a note,” she said, “but they won’t tell me what it said.”
No one else was in the cell with Morris when the correctional officers making their rounds found him, according to St. Mary’s detectives.
“The inmate was unresponsive,” an investigator said. The correctional officers began resuscitation efforts and were soon joined by an ambulance crew.
“They found him, and may have saved his life,” the investigator said.
On Tuesday morning at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, Gonzalez said her son is still alive, but remains unresponsive, and that a brain scan’s results were “nonconclusive.”
Morris, a 2010 graduate of Great Mills High School, had been in and out of mental facilities since he was 13, his mother said, but he excelled at U.S. Marine Corps basic training three years ago at Parris Island, S.C., before he was abruptly discharged at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“They had questions about his storytelling,” his mother said. “His stories were always more embellished than what [things really] were. His stories were his reality.”
Kaitlin Shipley, the girlfriend Morris is accused of assaulting, said he “seemed fine” when she talked to him on the phone last week.
“He doesn’t mean to do it. You can tell he doesn’t mean to do it,” she said of the assault allegations against her boyfriend, which court papers state include a June 1 incident in Park Hall where her injuries led to an emergency flight to a hospital.
“He’s fallen through the cracks every single time,” his mother said. “They still should have been hyper-vigilant with him. It shouldn’t have happened. We’ve all had so many warning signs that Wesley was headed that way.”