Case of accused UTC camera planter sent to grand jury
Story by Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter
The past has caught up with Bernard 'Junior' Morris, 23; the former Resident Assistant, or dorm monitor, accused of planting spy cameras in the rooms of freshmen girls at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Megan Bartlett showed up in Hamilton County Sessions Court Monday, to hear him waive his preliminary hearing and have his case bound over to the grand jury.
She hasn't said two words to him her whole life.
But she says she's been dealing with him since they rode the same bus in middle school.
"He started showing up in my house, trying to break into it," she says. "My neighbor caught him a couple of times."
That's why she knew exactly whom to blame, when her family's home burned to the ground in 2006
"He was actually the person who called in the fire (to 911)," she says.
"There was DNA evidence he was in there. It was obvious he had targeted me; my room was the only one that was ransacked."
Court records show Morris pleaded guilty to Aggravated Burglary and Arson.
He was sentenced to six years' probation in lieu of prison. But barely a year later, court records indicate he was harassing Lori Bledsoe, his guidance counselor at Ooltewah High School; her daughter, and another teenaged girl.
Bledsoe's home also suffered a mysterious, and devastating fire.
"He contacted my daughter, on the computer, on MySpace, and said what happened to our dog and our house wasn't an accident," Bledsoe says.
"And he hoped nothing else like that happened to our new home in Ooltewah."
Morris pleaded guilty to harassment and stalking. He served 11 months and 29 days in the Hamilton County workhouse, and agreed not to
contact Bledsoe or the girls again.
"He's not going to get away with it this time," says Megan's mother, Pat Bartlett.
"We're gonna be here for everyone of those court dates. For UT-C we will be here."
The Bartletts and Bledsoes tell Eyewitness News that they wanted to make sure Morris saw them in court, so that he would know they're not afraid of him.
"He feeds off the fear of people, and I won't give him the satisfaction," Megan Bartlett says. "I want to make sure he can't do this to any other girls ever again."
Morris' new charges will complicate matters for him. They're considered grounds for revoking his probation on the arson conviction.
"I felt really heartbroken for the (UT-C) girls who had to go through this," Megan says.
"And kind of helpless that I couldn't have done anything; but also, I'm very excited and happy to know that this gives me a chance to make sure he can't do this again."
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A UTC student and former resident assistant for campus housing will now go before a grand jury on charges of planting surveillance cameras in student housing.
Judge Johnny Houston bound 23-year-old Bernard Morris' case over to the grand jury Monday morning.
Campus police say, Bernard placed spy cameras in three on-campus apartments; one in Guerry Hall, two in the Stophel Building.
He faces charges of arson and burglary and is being held on $310,000 bond.