SAVANNAH, Ga. - A Savannah mother of four on Friday was sentenced to two consecutive life prison sentences after a jury found her guilty but mentally ill of malice murder by drowning her two youngest children in a plastic tub at her home.
Jokeera Viola Morgan, 28, will go to a state prison facility where she will receive mental health treatment under the sentence imposed by Chatham County Superior Court Judge James Bass Jr.
Jurors convicted Morgan in the Oct. 6, 2015, deaths of daughters Savannah West, 8-months-old, and Zyra Morgan, 18 months, one at a time, at her home.
The jury rejected defense contentions that Morgan had a long history of mental health issues and medications that left her broken by her mental illness.
The issue focused on whether Morgan knew right from wrong when she killed the children.
“The defendant knew when she murdered her babies that it was wrong,” Assistant District Attorney Jenny Guyer told jurors.
But Assistant Public Defender Todd Martin told the jury “When she killed her children she didn’t know right from wrong. She thought she was doing the right thing.”
He recited a history of Morgan being committed to Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah and a long history of mental illness and medications to deal with mental health issues.
The defendant’s two oldest children had already been removed from her custody.
Evidence showed that after killing the two, Morgan called the Savannah-Chatham police emergency 911 number and told the operator what she had done – she took one daughter, undressed her, put her in a tub of water and held her down until she stopped moving.
She then left the victim in the hall, got the second daughter and repeated the action, evidence showed.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found one child inthe hallway, the second in a tub half covered with water.
An autopsy found drowning was the cause of death for both victims.