Clark County

Grand jury to decide charge against man accused in sex offender's death

Demetrious Morton
Demetrious Morton

A grand jury will consider charges against a Winchester man accused of punching a sex offender, who died from his injuries Sunday.

In a hearing Wednesday, Judge Brandy O. Brown waived the case against Demetrious Morton, 35, to the grand jury despite a request from public defender Kyle Morris to reduce the initial charge against Morton. Morton was charged with manslaughter, but a family member insisted Wednesday the killing was accidental.

Morton is accused of punching David Bailey, 51, a sex offender who was not compliant with registration rules, on June 22 after Bailey talked to children in a car on Denny Avenue, police and court records say.

Bailey was told by someone in the house to leave the area after he stopped to talk to the children, police Sgt. Tom Beall testified Wednesday. Morton approached and started yelling.

When Bailey lifted his hands in a shrug of sorts, Morton punched him in the face once, Beall said. Bailey fell, hitting his head on the pavement.

The base of Bailey's skull was fractured, and he died from bleeding on the brain at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, according to the results of an autopsy performed Monday. Morton and witnesses didn't know Bailey was a sex offender listed on the Kentucky State Police registry until after police started to investigate.

State police were unable to provide information Wednesday on the charges that landed Bailey on the sex offenders registry.

Morton told police he punched Bailey because Bailey was talking to the kids, Beall said. Morton also told police that Bailey had raised his hands in a threatening manner.

But witnesses at the scene said Bailey was walking away from the car when the confrontation occurred, Beall testified. Bailey was not aggressive in his arm and hand movements, the witnesses said.

The initial assault charge against Morton was changed to manslaughter after Bailey died. The Clark County grand jury will decide whether that charge stands.

Morton's bond was set at $150,000.

Brown cited a past charge as one of the reasons bond could not be lowered. Though a domestic assault conviction several years ago did not directly relate to the current case, she said, it did show a tendency for violence.

George Morton, Demetrious Morton's uncle, said Morton reacted after Bailey didn't step away from the car when someone in the house told him to. His nephew didn't mean to kill Bailey, Morton said.

"It was just an unfortunate accident," George Morton said.