Follow Up: Uncle Who Injured Baby Faces Criminal Trial
Patch updates this story that caught readers' attention in early January.
Former Carroll County resident Stephen Morningstar, 34, is scheduled to appear in court in July to face charges in an assault in which his 22-month-old niece was thrown to the ground on New Year's Day.
As previously reported on Patch, Morningstar, of Orem, Utah was visiting his family on Uniontown Road following the death of his mother.
According to police reports, Morningstar became agitated and fled the home. Upon his return, he took his niece outside and threw her onto the asphalt driveway, police said.
He then struck his father in the head and fled the residence again, according to police. Police apprehended Morningstar a short distance from the home.
Morningstar was charged with attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment.
Morningstar’s father was treated and released from Carroll Hospital Center for a laceration to his head. The toddler was taken to the John’s Hopkins Children’s Center where she was treated for a fractured skull. The child is now home and recovering although it's unclear if there will be long term health issues from the injury.
According to Chief Deputy State's Attorney David Daggett, Morningstar posted bond in January and returned to Utah.
"We have no problem with that as we know where he lives; it keeps him away from the victim’s family; and if he fails to return to Maryland we can use that against him at trial as 'consciousness of guilt' evidence," Daggett told Patch in an email.
Daggett said that Morningstar filed an NCR plea (Not Criminally Responsible) but the state's attorney office has not yet seen the results of any psychiatric evaluation.
A court case search shows that Morningstar's criminal jury trial is tentatively scheduled to begin in July.
Several Patch readers who commented after the first article appeared in early January said they knew Morningstar and expressed support for him as a valuable member of the community.
Paul Lemen said Morningstar was his daughter's youth group teacher at church. "He has always been a kind, loving man to all around him ... and I have been in Bible studies with him and his wife for many years," he wrote.
Kelly Opfar said Morningstar mentored her son for almost five years. "Steve is the kindest, most patient man," she said.
And, commenter Laurie DeHaas wrote that "there is more to the story than what is printed and he deserves for the courts to be understanding and compassionate."