WATERLOO — A judge has dismissed the state’s request to throw out Daniel Eugene Morrissey’s petition to have his 90-year prison sentence re-examined.
Prosecutors with the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office had argued issues Morrissey — 39, father of slain 10-year-old Lyric Cook-Morrissey — raised in his recent post-conviction relief petition had already been turned down on direct appeal.
But Morrissey’s new attorney, Felicia Bertin Rocha, added claims Morrissey’s prison time for drug offenses amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and noted his former attorney didn’t have a doctor testify at sentencing in 2013.
During a brief hearing Monday, Senior Judge Jon Fister ruled the new claims means the case can continue. A trial date on the matter hasn’t been set.
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Morrissey’s daughter, Lyric, disappeared in July 2012 along with her cousin, Elizabeth Collins, 8. Their bodies were found in December 2012, and no arrests have been made in their deaths.
In challenging his drug sentence, Morrissey said the outcome of the sentencing hearing would have been different if his doctor had been called to testify about his medical records.
“My case became a high-profile case because my daughter was abducted and murdered. I was out on bond when this happened and going through this was traumatic,” Morrissey wrote the court.
During the disappearance, Morrissey was awaiting the outcome of methamphetamine charges. He was sentenced in September 2013 to 90 years in prison with a mandatory 30-year minimum before parole.
Morrissey filed a request for resentencing in February 2015, and the court assigned Rocha to represent him. She filed the amended request in November.