Billy Lee Morford, among Wisconsin’s most notorious child molesters, will be freed next week. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that a judge ordered the release after prosecutors admitted they had consulted eight experts and still couldn’t make a case to keep Morford under supervision as a “sexually violent person.” A doctor said Morford probably has less than a year to live because of various health problems.
The discharge ends one of the most intense controversies over a single criminal’s fate in recent Wisconsin history. Ever since he was released in 2003 from a secure treatment center and set up with constant supervision in a state-rented house, Morford, 60, has been at the center of the county’s dilemma over how to handle its sexual predators under state law. The law allows civil commitment of certain sex offenders after they complete prison terms but allows them to petition for supervised release after treatment. “The frustrating part of this case was always the lack of placement” for Morford, said prosecutor Rebecca Dallet. “We’ve searched high and low, in state and out of state.”