CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Karen Morris rejoiced when the teenager who stabbed her elderly mother to death in her West Side home was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Two and a half years later, she is shocked that a judge will bring the boy to court again and possibly change that decision.
Thomas Mallo was just 14 when he stabbed 82-year-old Phyllis Phares 35 times in her living room. The teen sometimes did odd jobs for his neighbor and often sat and talked with her on the porch.
He turns 18 this month, and by law is entitled to have his sentence reconsidered at that time. He has been serving his time since July 2010 at the Salem Industrial Home for Youth.
Meanwhile, Morris and her family have tried to heal from the horrific event. She still owns her mother's home on Frame Street and must go there often to check on it.
"It's been very difficult," she admits. "On the day of the hearing it will be exactly three and a half years since we found her.
"We went through this once," she said of the numerous court hearings involving the murder. "And now we have to go through it again."
Morris has been collecting hundreds of signatures on petitions that she will present to the judge. All ask that the 40-year-sentence stand.
A few weeks ago, Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster ordered Mallo to be moved to the Tiger Morton Juvenile Detention Center in Dunbar in preparation for the hearing Friday.
Prosecutors objected, saying the facility wasn't secure enough for Mallo since he had attempted to escape Salem earlier this year. A guard was injured in that incident, and charges against Mallo are pending in Harrison County Circuit Court.