philadelphia - Woman who plead guilty to killing husband just 'snapped'
April 27, 2008 9:07pm CST
PERHAPS Myra Morton became distraught when her bigamist husband had taken a Moroccan woman as a second wife. Or when he started sending his new wife $3,000 a month, using money from a medical settlement they received after their daughter died. Or when he announced plans to fly to Morocco to bed his new wife, who had told him she was ovulating. Or when he purchased sexy undergarments as a gift for the second - and younger - wife. Perhaps all of the above drove her to fatally shoot her spouse of 25 years, Jereleigh Morton, a handyman from North Philadelphia who became a millionaire. Whatever the reasons, Morton just "snapped," Morton plead guilty yesterday to third-degree murder, admitting she shot her husband twice in the head as he slept in their mansion in Whitpain Township, Montgomery County, just hours before he was to fly to Morocco. She had recently lost a child and as a result of her child's death, they were awarded a lot of money and she was now confronted with a scenario where her husband wanted to add another wife and use the money that had come from the loss of a child to fund this other wife and a new child Morton, 48, now faces five to 10 years in prison - a sentence typically meted out for manslaughter, not murder. As part of the plea, however, prosecutors agreed not to seek more than a 10-year prison term, though the judge can go higher. Morton had initially blamed her husband's Aug. 5 death on an intruder. But police quickly suspected Morton. Jereleigh Morton, 47, met his second wife, 37-year-old Zahra Toural on the Internet in 2006. In keeping with Muslim tradition, Myra Morton flew to Morocco to bless the marriage. She soon grew resentful, particularly over a dowry and monthly support payments to Toural, authorities said. The Mortons had received a reported $8 million in a 2005 medical malpractice settlement over their teenage daughter's death from a misdiagnosed intestinal disease. The couple moved with their surviving daughter from a run-down North Philly rowhouse to a $1 million house in Whitpain Township. Shortly after Jereleigh Morton married Toural in March 2007, Myra Morton secretly sent a letter to the U.S. State Department alleging Toural had terrorist ties, Last month, Toural filed a defamation lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Myra Morton, claiming she lied to federal authorities in an effort to keep Toural out of the country. Toural is seeking "in excess of $75,000," plus lawyers' fees, from Myra Morton in the pending libel suit. The Mortons' adult daughter and her family are slated to inherit Jereleigh Morton's assets under a law that prevents killers from profiting from their crimes Myra Morton's only concern is the welfare and well-being of her daughter and infant granddaughter. * With the lost of one of their daughters this woman was seriously pushed over the edge. And than to spend the money they received from their child's death on another woman, I can defiently see where this woman lost it.