An Arlington man scheduled to stand trial in October on charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child hanged himself Monday at the Johnson County Law Enforcement Center and was pronounced dead shortly after.
Johnson County Sheriff Bob Alford said Jay Morgan, 50, was discovered in his cell about 5:10 a.m.
Morgan, who was being held in solitary confinement, used his shirt to hang himself, Alford said.
Alford said Morgan had not attempted suicide before and was not on suicide watch. A guard discovered Morgan during the usual once every 30 minute rounds, he said.
Cleburne firefighters responded at 5:23 a.m. to find Morgan deceased with a homemade noose around his neck. Jail staff attempted to revive Morgan for several minutes without success, according to reports.
Johnson County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Ronny McBroom said he was notified of the hanging at 5:32 a.m. and arrived at the jail at 5:38 a.m.
McBroom pronounced Morgan dead at 5:40 a.m.
Chapter 501 of the Government Code, which addresses inmate welfare, requires, should an inmate die while in custody, that the employee of the facility who is in charge of the inmate immediately notify the nearest justice of the peace in the county and the office of internal affairs for the department.
The justice of the peace is charged with personally inspecting the body and making an inquiry into the cause of death.
McBroom was gathering evidence and compiling his report as of 2 p.m. Monday.
Alford said his department will conduct an internal investigation but added that, as are standard operating procedures for JCSO, the Texas Rangers, Texas Jail Commission and Texas Attorney General’s Office have been notified of the incident.
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office officials working with the Texas Rangers arrested Morgan in July 2012 at his work in Arlington. The previous day they arrested Rosalyn Elizabeth Burdett, 41, at her home in the Johnson County portion of Mansfield.
Law enforcement officials retrieved electronic storage devices at the homes of both, which allegedly contained images of children engaging in sexual acts with Morgan and Burdett. The victims were Burdett’s then 7-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.
Photos recovered during a search of Burdett’s house rank among the worst child pornography investigators have seen, JCSO Lt. Tim Jones said at the time.
Sex toys and a journal entry found at Burdett’s house helped officials identify Morgan as the man shown in some of the photos having sex with one of the children, according to reports. Officials also found photos of Burdett having sex with both of the children, according to court records and a contract between Burdett and Morgan granting Morgan consent to “abuse, use and dispose of [one of Burdett’s children] as he saw fit.”
Burdett’s husband at the time, who now lives in Kansas, apparently discovered the images on Burdett’s computer while he was in town to watch his and Burdett’s children while Burdett, at the time a medical eligibility specialist with Texas Health and Human Services, was attending training classes for that same job.
Travis Burdett said he met Burdett more than 14 years ago and that she “was prostituting herself for crank” at the that time, but “stopped that” while they were married, according to court records.
Travis Burdett said he knew his wife was a sexual deviant and that he saw a picture of her “bruised and burned by one of her sex acts” while they were married, according to reports.
Burdett said his wife’s behavior troubled him and his mother, but that they did not believe she would do anything to the children.
According to records, Rosalyn Burdett admitted to having taken a picture of one of her children engaging in a sex act with Morgan.
Burdett is scheduled to stand trial Oct. 21 in the 18th District Court. ..Source.. by Matt Smith