Morgan pleads 'not guilty'; trial set for September

Stephen Floyd

The man accused of strangling his fiancée near Morton July 19 pleaded "not guilty" this morning to a charge of second-degree murder while being arraigned in Lewis County Superior Court.

32-year-old Corey Morgan, of Randle, has been accused of killing 48-year-old Chehalis resident Brenda Bail and blaming her death on an attack by three men leading to a vehicle collision on a forest service road west of Morton.

According to detectives with the Lewis County Sheriff's Office, evidence observed at the scene does not support Morgan's account of Bail's death, nor does a coroner's report, which states the victim was killed through manual strangulation rather than injuries sustained during a car crash.

Charging documents have indicated Morgan has a history of violence against Bail, including an assault arrest last October for which he was sentenced July 17 to one day in jail and 363 days suspended. Morgan also has a history of felony arrests related to drugs and assault in Florida and Oklahoma, according to court documents.

A trial date of September 9 has been set and, if convicted, Morgan could face a sentence of life in prison.