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Verdict: Spouse, not train, was killer

Published Sep. 29, 2005

After a train ran over Sheri Chadbourne Morrow's body in Crestview nearly six years ago, an autopsy concluded that she died of injuries caused by the train.

Later, a man came forward to suggest it didn't happen that way.

Three years after the woman's Dec. 5, 1993, death, her body was exhumed. A second medical examiner determined that she was strangled before the train hit her.

On Tuesday, John Morrow was convicted of strangling his wife, then laying her body on the tracks in Crestview, where the couple lived, to cover up the crime.

Morrow was convicted of second-degree murder because only 11 of 12 jurors could agree on a first-degree murder conviction _ which could have led to a death sentence or life without parole.

In testimony Monday, Morrow repeatedly denied that he killed his wife, answering mostly with a quiet "No, sir" to each question from lawyers. He said he no longer loved her but held her as a friend at the time of her death.

The prosecution's key witness was Steven Meek, who testified that Morrow had told him he planned to knock out his wife and put her on the tracks.

Meek, a friend of Morrow, also testified that the defendant later confirmed that he strangled her. Morrow denied making such statements to Meek.

Morrow could still get life without parole. Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore said prosecutors will seek that penalty, the maximum possible, at a sentencing hearing set for Sept. 14.