Morgan Withdraws Request For Youthful Offender Status

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There are new developments in the case of a young man accused of driving a pickup truck that struck and killed a 6-year-old boy last year.

Kyle Morgan, of Madison County, was 19 when he was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.  Now he will face the charges as an adult.

The pain of it all is still fresh and raw to the parents of Matt Dahl.

Kyle Morgan did not appear in court, but rather had his attorney, Larry Morgan, speak on his behalf and withdraw his motion to be tried as a youthful offender.

The wreck happened on May 28th, 2011, three days after Matt Dahl’s 6th birthday.

The boy was riding his bike near his home in Madison County on a Saturday night around eight o’clock.  Authorities say a truck hit him and fled the scene.  Matt died.

“Nothing will bring Matt back,” said Matt’s mother, Marge Dahl, through tears.  “But with love and support of the community, it has helped us.”

She and her husband Michael, Matt’s father, were in Circuit Judge Ruth Ann Hall’s courtroom, along with dozens of supporters who wrote letters to ask the judge to deny Kyle Morgan’s request for youthful offender status.  Those letters have been coming into the judge for three months.  Each person who came on behalf of the Dahls wore special ribbons with Matt’s name on them.

The outcome of Thursday’s hearing was some good news for the Dahls.

Shauna Barnett, an assistant district attorney explained the move saying, “Instead of pursuing the youthful offender protection that he’s entitled to apply for by law because of his age, he’s basically waiving that. So he wants to go forward as an adult.”

Nonetheless, The Dahls still left the courtroom in tears.

“When you turn 18, you can vote, you can own a business, buy a house, fight for your country,” said Michael Dahl.  “You’re not a youth anymore.  You’re an adult.”  Dahl is a two-time veteran of the Iraqi War and pointed out that many of the people he served with overseas were 18 and 19 years old.

Marge Dahl says her family is taking everything one step at a time.  “Hopefully Kyle will make the right choice, finally, and own up to what he has done.”

The Dahls said the family of Kyle Morgan has not issued an apology, only reaching out to them through their attorney.  But, then again, Marge Dahl said her family is not ready for that.

“We aren’t there yet,” she said tearfully.  “There’s nothing they can say.  We’re still grieving heavily for our little boy and we’re not there, because anything they say will not bring him back.”

The judge assigned a jury trial date of November 26th, but prosecutors don’t believe it will go to trial.  They expect a plea deal before then.

Kyle Morgan is out on $60,000 bond, so he did not have to appear in person Thursday morning.

The Dahls hope someday they can bring changes to the laws in Alabama regarding youthful offender status and the protection it offers, no matter how serious the crime.

Had Morgan sought and been granted youthful offender status, it would have capped his sentence at three years and sealed his criminal record.

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