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Murder charges filed in killing of 13-year-old in west-central Minnesota

Three counts of second-degree murder have been filed against Houston Allen Morris, of Olivia, who allegedly stabbed and killed the 13-year-old Isaac Hoff, son of his girlfriend early Thursday morning in Olivia.

Olivia stabbing crime scene 3.24.22.JPG
Charges have been filed against the suspect male who allegedly killed a 13-year-old boy Thursday morning at a residence on the 800 block of Lincoln Avenue in Olivia. The boy's mother was also injured.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
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OLIVIA, Minn. — Charges have been filed against the suspect who allegedly stabbed and killed 13-year-old Isaac Hoff early Thursday morning in Olivia. The boy's mother was also injured, suffering non-life-threatening injuries.

Hoff's name was released by BOLD Public Schools in a voicemail to parents, which the West Central Tribune has been able to listen to. The name of the mother has not yet been publicly released and the West Central Tribune as a policy does not identify victims of domestic abuse.

Houston Allen Morris, 38, of Olivia, is facing felony charges of second-degree murder — with intent without premeditation, second-degree murder — without intent while committing a felony second-degree assault, and second-degree attempted murder — with intent not premeditated.

Morris had his first court appearance in Olivia on Friday afternoon. The hearing was held remotely with Morris attending from the Renville County Jail.

The state requested and was granted bail be set at $500,000 unconditional or $350,000 conditional. Renville County Attorney Kelsie Kingstrom said the state had concerns that Morris could be a flight risk because he is facing up to 40 years in prison if convicted in this case. There was also a public safety concern raised, since it is alleged Morris violently assaulted the female victim with multiple items, including a knife and has allegedly threatened to kill both the female and her son before.

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"He has a 50% success rate," Kingstrom said at the hearing.

If Morris is released on conditional bail he can have no contact of any kind with the female victim, her minor child or the legal guardians of Hoff. He is also not allowed to have possession of or use alcohol or non-prescribed drugs and can not have in his possession firearms, dangerous weapons or ammunition. The court also issued a domestic abuse no-contact order outlining that Morris is to have no contact with the female victim or her minor child.

The next court hearing has been scheduled for April 25.

MORRIS, Houston.jpg
Houston Allen Morris
Contributed / Renville County Sheriff's Office

According to court documents, at approximately 5:49 a.m. Thursday, law enforcement were called to an apartment in Olivia on a domestic in progress. Hoff called law enforcement and said he had been stabbed in the chest with a knife.

When law enforcement arrived they made contact with Hoff, who was then transported to Olivia Hospital & Clinic with life-threatening injuries. He later died at the hospital.

The officers also made contact with Hoff's mother, who was suffering from multiple injuries, including lacerations, cut wounds and bite marks, according to court documents.

In a statement to law enforcement, the female victim said she had been in a romantic relationship with Morris for approximately a year, and he had been living in the apartment for two weeks. The couple began arguing Thursday a.m. in the bedroom when Morris allegedly started strangling the female with his hand on her neck and then hit her on the head with a pipe, according to court documents. Morris also allegedly picked up a metal bed frame and hit the female on the head.

According to the female victim's statement, she retrieved a knife from under her bed to use as protection, but then Morris allegedly took the knife from her and started advancing toward her. The two struggled over the knife, which caused injuries to the female victim's hand.

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Hoff woke up as the struggle was occurring.

Hoff was standing behind the female victim as she and Morris allegedly struggled over the knife. When Morris allegedly drove the knife towards the victim, it missed her and instead entered the chest of the teenager, according to court documents.

On March 1, 2022, the female victim had filed for — and received — an order for protection against Morris, alleging he had verbally and physically assaulted her on multiple occasions and threatened to kill her and her children. She also told law enforcement that the knives had been used or threatened to be used in the past.

Court documents show Morris has a past criminal conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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