BY JOEL GROSSBARTH
A murderer and rapist convicted by a Rockland County jury in 1980 will appear before a parole board this month to determine if he has served enough times for his crimes.
Franklin Morrison, one of the longest serving inmates currently incarcerated in New York State, may soon be freed by a board of three parole commissioners. Morrison was convicted for the rape and murder of then 15-year-old Jill Garrett in Putnam County.
Due to the amount of pre-trial publicity, the case was moved to Rockland and eventually heard by a Rockland County jury. Many of those who remember the trial recall it as one of the most horrific cases to pass through the Rockland dockets.
The month long trial concluded with a conviction on all charges. Morrison was sentenced to 37½ years to life in prison. Now, after serving the minimum sentence, Morrison will try to convince a parole board he should be freed. Morrison, 68-years-old has served more than 37 years in state penitentiaries. The judge that presided over the trial Hon. Frank C. Bowers, Jr. passed away earlier this year.
Morrison has lost every appeal he has filed. He has claimed prosecutorial errors, ineffective assistance of counsel and numerous errors by the trial judge, all to no avail. The Parole Board will look at all the relevant factors, including the serious nature of the crimes, as well as Morrison’s institutional record to make the final determination. If denied parole, Morrison will not be eligible again until 2019.