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.



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