WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — A state appeals court affirms convictions of two high profile Wichita County child sex abuse cases that resulted in lengthy sentences.
In the first case, the 2nd Court of Appeals denied the appeal of Christopher Morriss, who was convicted by a jury and sentenced last year to life without parole for continuous sexual abuse of a child and indecency with a child.
Morriss’ appeal claimed the trial court denied his motion to quash some of the counts in which the victim was the same as in other counts and that the jury was not instructed to disregard those counts.
The appeals court rejected Morriss’ argument, but did rule the Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact conviction be changed to Indecency by Exposure.
The charges involved a girl who was victimized between the ages of six and 10 years old during a camping trip, in a laundry room and at other locations.
The victim said Morriss told her he would kill her if she told anyone about the assaults, and authorities said Morriss also threatened to kill his ex-wife in a phone call from the jail.
The Court of Appeals also ruled in favor of the D.A.’s office in the appeal of Casey Cochnauer who was sentenced in 2019 to 50 years and 20 years, stacked, for Indecency.
The victims were 10 and 13-year-old brothers who were forced into sexual activity in an abandoned trailer.
Prosecutor Dobie Kosub said the victims were “destroyed mentally” by the abuse.
Cochnauer was unsatisfied with his appointed attorney and elected to defend himself.
After his conviction, he appealed on grounds he was deprived of his right to counsel and his right to a speedy trial.
He maintained he was “commandeered” into serving as his own attorney, though the court appointed another attorney to be in court, ready to assist him.
The appeals court rejected his appeal, finding that the trial court had thoroughly questioned and cautioned him about his decision.