Prosecutor Asks Jury To Find Morse Guilty In Massacre At Lookout Valley RV Park

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Derek Morse
Derek Morse

Prosecutor Cameron Williams on Tuesday asked a Criminal Court jury to find Derek Morse guilty of three counts of first-degree murder as well as attempted first-degree murder in a massacre at a Lookout Valley RV Park on April 9, 2014.

Morse, who was 19 at the time, is standing trial in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman.

Skyler Allen, who was 22 when the shots rang out, is set to be tried later on the same charges.

Jacob Allison, who was 15 at the time of the slayings, is set to testify for the state. Authorities say he was the driver, and Morse and Allen were the gunmen.

Prosecutors earlier said the attack was payback by Morse for an incident five days earlier behind the Food Lion on Brown's Ferry Road over a $20 debt.

Defense attorney Dan Ripper questioned identification by state witnesses of Morse.

Prosecutor Williams began his opening argument by quoting Morse as saying at the scene, "Make sure they're all dead." That information came from Matthew Callam, the 16-year-old lone survivor of the attack who "played dead" after being shot five times.

The prosecutor said Callam related how 29-year-old Caleb Boozer, after he was shot several times, said, "Please don't kill me. I don't even know ya'll." He was shot 15 times with the final bullet "execution style", the jury was told.

John "Jake" Lang, 53, who had just moved into the neighborhood the day before, and 24-year-old Jon Morris were shot multiple times as well. The prosecutor said Lang was shot five times, including twice in the head, and never was able to get up from the chair where he was sitting. The 426-pound Morris tried to crawl under an RV, but was pulled out and shot eight times, including twice in the head.

Prosecutor Williams said Callam recalls seeing a black car come creeping up Kelly's Ferry Place, stop at Morris' residence, then come down to a stop sign. Allison then threw the car into reverse and stopped near where the four were outside an RV. Morse got out, then stepped back into the car to retrieve a .22 rifle, it was stated.

Boozer tried to escape but could not get through a briar patch and stumbled back into the path of the gunmen, the jury was told.

Callam was able to crawl to his nearby home, and his father called 911.

Prosecutor Williams said a number of Remington .22 shells and projectiles were found at the scene. He said when Morse was found at a house on Elder Mountain Road five hours later he had an unfired Remington shell in his pocket.

He said the black car was located behind America's Best Value Inn on Patten Chapel Road. It had two spent .22 shell casings in it.

It was testified at the preliminary hearing that Morris, his brother-in-law, Brandon Jackson, and a friend, Dan Antoine, arranged to meet Morse at the Food Lion on April 4, 2014, over the money that was allegedly owed. Jackson said there was a crowd gathered at the grocery when they arrived armed with a tire iron and a hammer.

He said they pulled up near Morse's vehicle and got out. He said he hit the side of the Morse vehicle with his tire iron, and he said Morse responded by firing shots at them. He said they jumped back in their vehicle and drove down Brown's Ferry Road with Morse behind them firing more shots. He said he finally wrecked the vehicle in a ditch.

 

 



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, ANTONIO LEBRON  7255 LEE HWY APT #417 CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 37 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DOMESTIC --- APOLINAR, KEVIN JOSE  6850 HICKORY LANE CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 39 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Concurrent Grand Jury Calls For Additional Mental Health Facility; Cites Overcrowding, Heat Problems At County Jail

The Concurrent Hamilton County Grand Jury, in a final report, called for an additional mental health facility here.     The panel noted that the Moccasin Bend faility only has 150 beds and serves 52 counties.   The Concurrent Grand Jury also described overcrowded holding cells at the Hamilton County Jail as well as very high temperatures on the ... (click for more)

TIF Proposal Fails Straight Face Test

Mayor Berke has put the City Council in an unenviable position. The Council will be asked to vote Tuesday on whether to use tax increment financing (TIF) to pay for a one-block extension of M.L. King Boulevard to the Riverwalk.  Accountability for Taxpayer Money supports the road extension concept and understands its timing. However, we strongly oppose using TIF future property ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Want To Buy An AK-47?

On Sunday night I got an email from a reader who I enjoy that read, “How about, ‘Don’t sell assault weapons to 18-year-olds.’ The blood is on your hands (and all the other gun and violence idolaters)!” While I beg to disagree with him, this is a nation where – right now, this minute -- there are an estimated ONE TRILLION rounds of ammunition and over 300 million firearms. I can ... (click for more)

Howard Nips Red Bank In McGary's Final Home Game

Two consolation games were played in the District 6-AA basketball tournament Monday night at Howard’s Henry Bowles Gymnasium and one was much more significant than the other. The Brainerd Lady Panthers had a strong fourth quarter to finally pull away from Tyner en route to a 48-34 victory while the Howard Hustlin’ Tigers escaped a hungry Red Bank team by a 71-68 final that was ... (click for more)

Howard Plays Like A "Miss Basketball" As Bradley Rips Lady Canes For 5-3A Title

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – In each of the last eight seasons, Bradley Central coach Jason Reuter hasn’t come close to winning the District 5-3A Coach of the Year award, an award voted on by the league coaches. In those eight years, however, Reuter has directed the Bearettes to a district tournament championship. Every year. Just like clockwork. That’s a tradeoff Reuter ... (click for more)