Olivia man sentenced to 16 years for murder of 13-year-old boy, assault of boy’s mother
An Olivia man has learned his punishment after being convicted of assaulting a woman and fatally stabbing her son.
Houston Allen Morris, 39, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to more than 16 years (201 months) in prison. He also received credit for 413 days already served.
“I’ll always remember him for the boy who always had a smile, sometimes very mischievous, he was always happy and loved life,” Darla Bajari, a cousin of the 13-year-old killed by Morris, said in court.
“It’s tough but we need to put this behind us and continue on with the journey we have without Isaac,” Bajari added. “He’ll always have a chair at everything we do.”
In March of 2022, Morris was charged with one count of second-degree murder with intent, one count of second-degree murder without intent, and one count of second-degree attempted murder, according to court documents.
Renville County court records show Morris accepted a plea deal on April 12 for one count of second-degree murder without intent and one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. As part of that deal, the first count was dismissed and Morris will spend 15 years in jail for the murder charge and 21 months for the assault.
Family, friends and classmates of the victim packed the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, leaving only standing room available.
The prosecutor was handing out tissues to family members before the proceedings started.
Sandy Hoff, the boy’s grandmother, said her “heart aches every day and all day” and also told the judge that she still tells him she loves him each night and “prays that he can hear her.”
Morris spoke briefly before he was sentenced, “asking God to forgive” him.
A criminal complaint states that law enforcement was called to 815 East Lincoln Avenue on March 24, 2022, for a report of a domestic violence situation. The caller identified himself as a 13-year-old boy, later identified as Isaac Hoff, who had been stabbed.
Upon arriving, court documents show Olivia police found a woman, later identified as Hoff’s mother, with a cut to her head and right finger, cuts on the palm of her hand, and several deep, purple bite marks on her left arm. She told officers that she had been arguing with Morris when he began strangling her with his hand, eventually hitting her on the head with a pipe. She added that at one point Morris picked up a metal bed frame and hit her on the head.
The woman told law enforcement she then got a knife from under her bed to use for protection. Morris took the knife from her and attempted to stab her, but he missed and instead hit Hoff’s chest. He was brought to the hospital, where he then died.
Documents show that Morris has a previous conviction for domestic assault. The woman he attacked had filed an order for protection against him, saying that Morris “verbally, physically assaulted me on several occasions and told me he was going to kill me. If he can’t have me, the world won’t. He has threatened to cut my head off. He has made comments while angry about killing my son. He has threatened my kids and using them against me… he has tried to stab me, punched me in my head six times while I was holding my daughter.” She added that knives have been used or threatened to be used in the past.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, several resources are available to offer help. For immediate help, contact:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
- Minnesota Day One at 866-223-1111.
- The Women’s Advocates crisis line at 651-227-8284.
More than 12 million people just in the U.S. are affected by domestic violence every year, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
The organizations listed above can help connect victims to resources like safe shelter, advocacy, legal help and support groups.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline also offers tips for identifying abuse and supporting victims of abuse. CLICK HERE to see those.
Other organizations that can help include:
- Violence Free Minnesota at 651-646-6177 or 800-289-6177.
- Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project at 612-343-9842.
- Mending the Sacred Hoop at 888-305-1650.
- Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault at 612-209-9993.
Minnesota also has a list of many other resources for victims of crimes that can be found HERE.