A 16-year-old Menlo Park murder case came to an emotional end today as a San Mateo County judge sentenced Joseph Morrow to 25 years to life in prison in the killing of his wife.
Morrow’s sentence was part of a plea bargain he agreed to Sept. 11 – the day his trial was to begin. The sentencing followed a daylong hearing in which Morrow’s first wife detailed how he strangled her until she nearly lost consciousness and a string of Donna Morrow’s friends and relatives wept as they described the void in their lives.
Three of the Morrows’ four children pleaded for mercy for their father, telling Judge Craig Parsons that they could not bear to lose both parents. Morrow made a brief statement accepting responsibility for his crime, but declined to reveal the circumstances of Donna’s death, which is still unknown.
A theory posited during the hearing by his defense attorney – that Morrow choked his wife in a fit of anger after she came home from a boyfriend’s house wearing revealing shorts and with white powder under her nose – caused several of her loved ones to angrily leave the courtroom.