Sentencing Delayed in Fatal Beating - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/13/06

Sentencing Delayed in Fatal Beating

Samantha Morgan-Major Samantha Morgan-Major

Samantha Morgan-Major will have to wait to find out if she'll live or die. She pled guilty last month to kidnapping, robbing and killing Brett Kinney, a physically handicapped man. Morgan-Major was supposed to learn her fate today. Last Friday, the judge decided to postpone the sentencing phase at the request of the defense.

Morgan-Major, 23, made her way into the Beaufort County Courthouse today and found out her new court date is June 19. Now Kinney's family will have to wait four months to learn the fate of his killer.

"I'm very disappointed we have to go through this all over again," said June Kinney, Brett's mother.

"I'm very disappointed," said Solicitor Duffie Stone. "We've put a lot of work into this to make sure we were ready to go, but I'm also disappointed for the family. They've been very patient."

Morgan-Major pled guilty to stabbing, choking and beating Kinney for more than 24 hours after kidnapping him in May of 2004, all for the PIN to his his ATM card.

"It's just been a nightmare," said June. "The whole thing. It's been a nightmare."

"It still hurts," said Marlene Kinney, Brett's sister. "It still hurts so much and we miss him so much."

Now the Kinney family wants justice. "It's the worst thing I've ever been through in my life," said June. "I'll just be glad when it's over with. But it will never really be over."

If the judge does sentence Morgan-Major to death, she'll be the only woman on death row in South Carolina in quite a few years.

This has all been really hard on the family. In fact, some of Brett Kinney's siblings are out of state and traveled here this weekend only to find out the sentencing was postponed. After Morgan-Major's sentencing is over, they'll have to do this all over again,  when Morgan-Major's codefendant, John Dykeman, goes to trial.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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