published Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

UTC student accused of illegal surveillance in campus apartments

UTC police arrested a student Monday on 13 felony charges — 12 counts of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated arson, according to a university release.

Bernard “Junior” Morris is accused of planting surveillance equipment in three campus apartments, one in Guerry and two in the Stophel Building, both on South Campus, the release said.

UTC’s spring break was last week, and when students in a Guerry apartment returned, they noticed there were items in their apartment that did not belong to them, and they reported the situation to their resident assistant, UTC said. Campus police determined the items housed surveillance cameras.

UTC police said all of the surveillance cameras planted in the apartments have been recovered. The case will continue to be investigated.

The arson charge relates to a Feb. 27 incident on campus when campus police said Morris threw a smoke bomb into the third-floor trash chute of the Stophel Building.

Separate from the criminal investigation, UTC said there will be a student conduct judicial review by the university.

Morris’ access to campus will be restricted pending the outcome of the judicial review, according to the release.

UTC police asks campus residents who notice items that have been moved or that do not belong to them to call 425-4357.

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mitzi4vols said...

I am the mother of one of the students who's privacy was violated and I AM BEYOND FURIOUS!!!! There were NOT enough precautions made by the UTC Administration to prevent this situation! This incident was one step away from being a headline reading "UTC student raped and killed"!!! I HOPE this is NOT swept under the rug...

March 22, 2011 at 1:53 a.m.
HannaBeckman said...

It will be swept under the rug as you stated. UTC officials are gutless, and local law enforcement are boobs when handling this kind of criminal and crime.

March 22, 2011 at 6:11 a.m.
bpqd said...

No victim; no crime. Get a lawyer and find out what you can do about it that is more substantial than some blog posts.

March 22, 2011 at 6:22 a.m.
Humphrey said...

what should utc have done? Swept every dorm room for bugs?

March 22, 2011 at 7:48 a.m.
Macallanlover said...

Was this story supposed to be informative? Burglary charges but the only thing mentioned were items added, not taken. A charge of arson, but no fire reported in the story. What type of surveilance equipment: Video cameras? Audio? What led to the arrest? Doesn't seem like the school and police are the only ones not doing their jobs. Either provide some details and tell the story, or don't write the headline.

March 22, 2011 at 8:16 a.m.
holdout said...

Don't have to take anything to be a burglary. Burglary is entering to commit a felony. Smoke bomb most certainly is arson. As for UTC and local law enforcement not knowing how to handle this I have to ask what you think they should have done. Beyond investigating the crime and arresting the suspect what else would you have them do? If this guy ends up not going to jail for a long time you should lay that at the feet of the courts. Police sweep up the same trash over and over and the courts let them out with little or no time.

March 22, 2011 at 8:44 a.m.

Macallanlover, everything that you have challenged was covered in the story.

My question is how did this person gain access to the dorms without leaving any indications of doing so? Did he have keys? Are the locks so easy to defeat that the doors were not damaged?

March 22, 2011 at 8:57 a.m.
juxtapose said...

somethingorother, rumors are that he stole the keys from the RA office/housing office and let himself in that way.

Macallanlover, please read the entire story and/or Google things you don't know before commenting. You only make yourself look dumb this way.

March 22, 2011 at 9:23 a.m.
easttn said...

You can order lock picking kit off the internet. they are like 19.95 for set.

March 22, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
mommawave said...

He should have never been allowed to be an RA. If UTC had done a background check they would have known that he has at least 2 counts of arson, several stalking charges and at least one battery, that I personally know of. Who knows what other charges he racked up since the things he did to my family. He should have never been let out of jail to begin with, much less given any responsibility. Shame on UTC!

March 22, 2011 at 11:51 a.m.
Macallanlover said...

something and juxt, a good report doesn't require unusual leaps of common understanding, or the need to google. You don't need a reporter if you have to do the work. No items were taken, that is usually necessary for a burglary charge. Otherwise it is breaking and entering in most jurisdictions. The type/intent of surveilance equipment was not identified in the story. Yes, the firebomb, if it was not a smokebomb, could have caaused a fire but that wasn't clear either. You can certainly make that stretch, I just didn't.

March 22, 2011 at noon
juxtapose said...

(1) - Burglary (also called breaking and entering and sometimes housebreaking is a crime, the essence of which is illicit entry into a building for the purposes of committing an offense.Now I know not everyone knows the basics of law but that's how the law reads. The reporter's lack of explaining this isn't poor reporting IMO, it's assuming the majority of readers have a basic grasp of law which clearly not all do. So point taken there. (2) Yes the story did explain the type of equipment. It clearly states "Surveillance cameras" so I'm not sure how you skipped over that not once, but twice. It doesn't go on to explain the intent but that's because the story hasn't progressed yet I'm sure. Who knows for sure (yet) why he wanted to spy on these people. That will likely come after investigation.(3) On the last point, I agree that smokebombs don't necessarily add up to an arson charge but it says he threw them down a "trash chute" which could obviously lead everyone to believe it was on fire so that would be my guess as to where the arson charge stems from, even though it doesn't appear that he actually set anything on fire. So point halfway taken there as well.

March 22, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.
mitzi4vols said...

@mommawave - Do you know where he's from?

March 22, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.
mitzi4vols said...

@Macallanlover - some items WERE taken.

March 22, 2011 at 12:44 p.m.
mitzi4vols said...

Thank you for the information Ooltewah!!! My daughter WAS involved and I WILL FIGHT!!! My biggest problem right now is getting information. I can't even find out when he is being arraigned or when his bail hearing is. Once I find out, I WILL BE THERE AND I WILL FIGHT! Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH for the information!!!

March 22, 2011 at 1:33 p.m.
Ooltewah said...

I will keep you updated. It was my dog and my house that he burned. I just spoke with our investigator and he has been at UTC. They know his history and this crime broke his probation. He will now have to serve the 6 years plus more. I blame Southern for hiding him all these years because they do not want to look bad. His mother has opened a counseling center beside The Good Samaritan in Ooltewah. Imagine that. I also blame the judge that released him after 8 months. If you watch news channel 9 they show the first house that he burned, then the email he sent my daughter about our dog and the last image they show is our house burning in the distance over the trees. We will be there in court to watch what happens. I am just glad your daughter is safe.

March 22, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.
OoltewahHome said...

It was actually my home in Ooltewah that Junior set on fire that landed him in prison last time with an over million dollar bond. This case should not be swept under the rug. He has shown that he will not stop. I'm studying Psychology now and can say that these kinds of things just get progressively worse. Previously, Junior video-taped girls without their knowing before he broke into my house, took personal items of mine, and set my house on fire. He broke probation on my case, so I'm sure I will get to meet the new victims soon. My heart goes out to each of you.

March 22, 2011 at 2:09 p.m.
mitzi4vols said...

He HAS to be STOPPED NOW!!!

March 22, 2011 at 2:45 p.m.
Ooltewah said...

Hi ooltewahhomei don't want to give out names but were you one of the other two that were in the case withh us? I hope you are doing good. You know how to contact my family so if you guys hear anything call me. We will all keep in touch. I am so very proud of all you girls that went thru this. We will see you at court and please keep in touch.

March 22, 2011 at 2:46 p.m.
mitzi4vols said...

Ooltewah - if you get any dates for hearings or bail or anything like that, please let me know since I can't seem to get that information from UTC or the Chattanooga police. E-mail me at mitzi4vols@gmail.com with anything you find out. I appreciate your information and I am so sorry that you all went through such tragedy (I watched the video on Channel 9). We HAVE to stop this guy!

March 22, 2011 at 3:09 p.m.
HonorH said...

mitzi4vols, check your email

March 22, 2011 at 3:18 p.m.
KGS said...

@ Ooltewah & mitzi, you can keep up with pending court dates and case dispositions on the Criminal Court's web calendar at http://hamiltontn.gov/courts/Criminal/GenSessDisclaimer.aspx. Currently, it looks like his first appearance is set for April 5 at 8:30 in Court Room 3. You can also call the DA's Victim Witness Coordinator for more information.

March 22, 2011 at 3:37 p.m.
Ooltewah said...

You can call 209-7623 anytime and ask. It is public record. He is still in jail. His court date is April 5th at 8:30 in Court room 3. I will see all of you there.

March 22, 2011 at 3:38 p.m.
mitzi4vols said...

I will ABSOLUTELY be there!! Thanks to everyone for the info. When you live 5 hours away, it's hard to get the correct information.

March 22, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.

Trying to be the new CIA on the campus.

March 22, 2011 at 7:06 p.m.
Eagle421 said...

Mr. Morris is on probation till 12/19/2013 for his previous charges. His next court date is April 5th with Judge Bales. This and other information is public record and can be found at the following webpages:

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department Booking Reports http://www.hcsheriff.gov/cor/cor_booking.php

Tennessee Felony Offender Information Lookup https://apps.tn.gov/foil/

Hamilton County General Sessions Court Calendar http://cjusgeneralsessions.hamiltontn.gov/appfolder/GS_Web_Calendar.aspx

I don't think anyone is sweeping this under the rug. My son called me and said he got an email about the arrest hours before the first "breaking news" story. That doesn't sound like sweeping it under the rug. The school put out a press release before daybreak. That's not sweeping it under the rug. From what I can tell, the events had a quick timeline from discovery, identification of the man, locating the him, arresting him, and dropping him off in jail. If anything, the police response was quick and the school has not covered-up anything, but actually shared the information to the entire community. I say KUDOS UTC for doing the right thing.

March 22, 2011 at 11:19 p.m.
Ooltewah said...

He is charged with an arson that happened on feb 27. Spring break was last week. If utc had taken the proper steps feb 27 he would not be around to hide cameras in dorm rooms. He would have been in jail for breaking his probation.

March 23, 2011 at 12:42 a.m.
mitzi4vols said...

KUDOS??? Ask your son what happened during FALL BREAK! That's right, he doesn't KNOW!!! Neither did MY DAUGHTER!!! Because it WAS swept under the rug!! Everything is NOT what it seems!! Trust me!

March 23, 2011 at 2:21 a.m.
mitzi4vols said...

Blind trust, which I admit that I probably had, is just that... BLIND! At this point and after the information I've obtained, my eyes are OPEN! And my conjecture is not based on rumor or anonymous posts... I spoke with the PEOPLE INVOLVED in the Fall incident. I am NO LONGER BLINDED by text book reassurances. I looked beyond the status quo and spoke to those involved. My eyes are WIDE OPEN!

March 23, 2011 at 2:29 a.m.
mesajuju said...

I knew this student and he was brilliant at fooling the school and many of his peers. He was a member of the ROTC program and (since the school apparently does not do background checks) was chosen as an RA (residents assistant) during the last year. I myself have known that he was caught fooling with the fire and security operating system of one of the south campus building and was also in a meeting for entering a girls dorm alone and unannounced. (but again, the school did nothing after the meeting and swept it under the rug). I know all of this because he used to nonchalantly talk about all of this to his few friends whom I was also friends with. I also know that he would offer money in return for sexual favors because he at one time made an offer to myself and one of my friends and we tried to turn him in but no one listened. UTC is not protecting the right students... instead it seemed they tried to protect the dangerous one.

March 23, 2011 at 12:31 p.m.
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