Crime & Courts

Case moves forward against SC teen accused of killing toddler brother in fire

Jacob Morgan
Jacob Morgan

Jacob Morgan, 17, fell out of his chair Tuesday after a judge ruled there is enough probable cause to move forward with the case against him. He is accused of setting a March fire that killed his toddler brother.

His lawyers argued that the charges should be dismissed because of the way police interrogated the young man after the fire.

However, prosecutors balked at that idea and said Morgan intentionally set the fire at the mobile home that killed 14-month-old Joshua Hill.

A hearing to determine if prosecutors have probable cause to ask a grand jury to indict Morgan was held in a York County courtroom Tuesday. A judge determined there is probable cause against Morgan for the charge of arson and murder.

In court, investigators said Morgan had a fascination with fire. He liked to carry around tea lights. Lawyers said large bottles of alcohol were in the room where the fire started, and a pattern went from the head of the bed to the door. They also said the fires were intentionally set near heaters to make them look like accidents.

Defense, however, said there is no evidence Morgan had ill will or malice toward his brother. They asked for the dismissal or reduced charges to involuntary manslaughter.

Neither firefighters nor responding deputies could save the toddler from the fire.

Morgan has been in jail since March 10, four days after his half-brother died in the fire southeast of Rock Hill. The charges came after Morgan and his parents were interviewed by detectives after the early morning fire days earlier. Morgan gave statements to police, among other pieces of evidence, that led to the charges.

Yet his parents to the Herald after Morgan was arrested that he had learning disabilities and other problems, and loved his younger brother.

Morgan was outside the burning mobile home when authorities arrived March 6.