Rita Morris, former Wilson utility billing clerk, was sentenced to 30 days in the Carter County Detention Center on two counts of embezzlement Wednesday afternoon. Morris' sentence in full was five years deferred with 30 days in county jail.
Rather than make Morris serve her sentence immediately, District Court Judge Dennis Morris declared the sentence should begin at 8 a.m., Feb. 18. The allotted time will allow Rita Morris time to make arrangements for her children. Morris will also pay a fine of $1,000 with payments of $50 a month and restitution in the amount of $7,500 with payments of $100 a month.
Assistant District Attorney James Gilyard asked for a sentence of four years with all but four months suspended, district attorney supervision and 100 hours of community service in addition to fines and restitution.
"We requested a stiffer sentence, but we respect the court's decision," Gilyard said.
According to a state audit, Morris drew two checks on the city's general fund payable to "Morris" and cashed them at a local bank. The checks were written in the amount of $2,900 and $4,600. Morris acknowledged she "forged and cashed" the two checks in a written statement to the Wilson Police Department.
Wilson Mayor Frank Schaaf said he was disappointed in the sentence but was ready to move forward.
"I'm glad there is closure and the city can move on," he said.