A couple were convicted Thursday of charges that they used their children to help shoplift thousands of dollars worth of clothing and other items.
After a four-day trial, a Logan County Common Pleas Court jury found Todd Morris, 37, and Laura Morris, 36, guilty of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, receiving stolen property and endangering children.
A story from the AP says, the couple showed no visible emotion when the verdicts were read.
Visiting Judge Sumner Walters dismissed one of the four counts of endangering children, saying prosecutors failed to show that the couple's 6-year-old son was imperiled during the shoplifting sprees.
The Morrises, who also have girls ages 14, 16 and 18, were arrested in June 2005.
Authorities said Laura Morris and her children stole merchandise from malls and stores in multiple counties. Prosecutors said more than 4,000 items, including clothing, tools and collectibles, were seized from the Morris' farmhouse and that the defendants couldn't show receipts for the goods, valued at about $56,000.
Sheriff's detectives said some of the stolen clothes, DVDs, tools and stuffed animals were returned for money. Todd Morris posted the rest for sale on eBay or stored them at the farmhouse, detectives said.
Defense attorneys said all the items Todd Morris listed on eBay were acquired legitimately at closeout sales, outlet stores and flea markets. They said the couple's teenage daughters made up the shoplifting story to get out from under their parents' authority and go live with an aunt.
During the trial, two of the girls testified that their father threatened to kill them if they refused to steal or told anyone.
The couple's oldest daughter, Ashli, had initially denied her sisters' claims, but a recording was played in court Thursday in which she corroborated their story. Defense attorney Javier Armengau said it didn't appear "she was given an opportunity to give her version" of the story.
Click here to read more of this story from the AP.