The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Nation & World

February 14, 2014

Former pediatrician convicted of waterboarding

GEORGETOWN, Del. — A pediatrician known for his research on paranormal science and near-death experiences with children was convicted Thursday of waterboarding the daughter of his longtime companion by holding her head under a faucet.

The jury deliberated for about six hours before returning its verdict against Melvin Morse, 60.

Morse was charged with three felonies — two for alleged waterboarding and one for alleged suffocation by hand. He was convicted of one felony — waterboarding in the bathtub — and five misdemeanors. Jurors reduced the second waterboarding charge to a misdemeanor and acquitted Morse of the suffocation charge.

Morse showed no reaction as the verdict was read. He was ordered to surrender his passport and will remain out on bail until his sentencing, set for April 11.

Morse faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, but a lesser punishment is likely under state sentencing guidelines. Each misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in prison but typically results in probation. The felony reckless endangerment conviction for waterboarding carries a maximum of five years in prison but a presumptive sentence of 15 months.

Prosecutor Melanie Withers said she was "very gratified" by the verdict, and that she was on her way to speak with the victim, now 12 years old.

Morse declined to comment and referred questions to his attorneys.

"He maintains his innocence to this day," said attorney John Brady.

Morse's lead defense attorney, Joseph Hurley, said he planned to appeal.

The girl and her mother, Pauline Morse, testified that Melvin Morse used waterboarding as a threat or a form of punishment. Waterboarding has been used in the past by U.S. interrogators on terror suspects to simulate drowning. Many critics call it torture.

Defense attorneys argued that "waterboarding" was a term jokingly used to describe hair washing the girl did not like.

Text Only
Nation & World
  • Economy [Duplicate] US job growth eases but tops 200K for a sixth month A sixth straight month of solid 200,000-plus job growth in July reinforced growing evidence that the U.S. economy is accelerating after five years of sluggish expansion.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Israel pushes deeper in Gaza after soldier seized Backed by tank fire and airstrikes, Israeli forces pushed deep into southern Gaza on Friday, searching for an Israeli army officer believed to be captured by Hamas fighters during deadly clashes that shattered an internationally brokered cease-fire.

    August 1, 2014

  • Gas Prices [Duplicate] Rare summer relief for gasoline prices The gasoline price roller coaster is running a strange course this summer.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_immigratonreform.jpg House GOP weighs tough new immigration bills

    House Republicans pushed legislation on Friday that would clear the way for eventual deportation of more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids and address the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Semi crash coats I-465 in butter

    A semitrailer has overturned on an Indianapolis interstate, spilling what police say are 45,000 pounds of packages of butter and other dairy products.

    August 1, 2014

  • Investigators make it to Ukraine jet crash site

    As fighting raged in eastern Ukraine, an international team of investigators on Thursday reached the crash site of the Malaysia Airline Flight 17 and got a first look at where it was brought down by a missile two weeks ago.

    July 31, 2014

  • Ticket me Elmo? NYC mulls law for impersonators

     New York City officials are turning up the heat on Elmo, Cookie Monster and Statue of Liberty impersonators — Times Square costumed characters who often demand money for posing in photos with tourists.

    July 30, 2014

  • US economy grew at strong 4 percent rate in spring

    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.

    July 30, 2014

  • Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

    A broken water main near the UCLA campus Tuesday sent a geyser of water some 30 feet into the air, trapping people in underground parking garages and covering some of the best-known parts of campus in water, including the school's famed basketball arena.

    July 30, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 29, 2014