CANTON, SD—The jury trial of a N’West Iowa elementary school principal accused of misappropriating his mother’s money has been postponed again.

A trial date of Tuesday, July 21, has been scheduled in the case of 53-year-old Michael Jay Morran of Primghar.

The trial originally had been set for March 17 and had been re­­scheduled for April 28 and June 9 before being delayed again due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.

Attorney Kimberly Zachrison of the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case on behalf of the state.

“The trial scheduling is something that is rather fluid at this point in time,” said Tim Bormann, the office’s chief of staff. “Lots of things get penciled in, but are always subject to ever-changing conditions.”

Morran was arraigned on Dec. 17 in Lincoln County Circuit Court in Canton, SD.

A grand jury has charged Morran, the principal of South O’Brien Elementary in Primghar, with:

  • Three Class 4 felony counts of theft by exploitation.
  • One Class 5 felony count of theft by exploitation.
  • One Class 6 felony count of theft by exploitation.

Morran had been entrusted with property belonging to Tracia Morren, his mother, but allegedly misappropriated several thousand dollars of her money numerous times between Dec. 28, 2015, and Oct. 3, 2017.

According to court documents, Morran “did, with intent to defraud, appropriate Tracia Morren’s property for a use or purpose not in the due and lawful execution of Tracia Morren’s trust.”

Under each of the three Class 4 felony counts, Morran allegedly misappropriated an amount of more than $5,000 but less than or equal to $100,000.

For the Class 5 felony count, he was accused of misappropriating an amount of more than $2,500 but less than or equal to $5,000.

Under the Class 6 felony, Morran allegedly misappropriated an amount of more than $1,000 but less than or equal to $2,500.

A warrant for Morran’s arrest was issued Nov. 12. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office took him into custody Nov. 22.

Morran was released on Nov. 26 from the Lincoln County Jail in Canton on a $2,500 bond.

According to court documents, Morran has been ordered to have no contact with his mother, who used to live in Beresford, SD.

Morran has been the principal of South O’Brien Elementary since Aug. 1, 2015.

He previously served for about four years as the principal of Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School in Sibley.